4 Tips to Survive a Long Run

Over the weekend I did my first 14 miler since May. A lot has happened in those five months – no running for 6+ weeks, a nagging foot injury that doesn’t seem to like to stay in one place and a few shorter distance races. While I’ve been doing 10 milers and one 12 miler last month in preparation for my next half marathon in November, this seemed like my first true long run in quite some time.

Early Fall Morning - happyfitmama.comInstagram pic from Sunday’s run. It’s just too pretty not to share.

When I stated out on Saturday, I didn’t even really think too much about the distance. Fourteen just doesn’t seem that long to me anymore (famous last words). There was a time when I thought 8 miles was outlandishly long. Isn’t it funny how marathon training can skew your perception of distance for life? Originally I had hoped to run with a running group but then I remembered that this weekend was full of big races that the majority of my friends were running (Way to go Dana!). So I opted to run solo. My plan was to run a 7-8 mile loop in one direction, pit stop at my house for water/Gu, followed by another 6-7 miles in another direction.

The first 7 miles flew by. I was feeling good and abiding by the rules of LSD (long slow distance) running. I wanted to keep it easy and hopefully finish the last miles faster. I made it to my house at mile 6.5, grabbed some water/Gu and was off again to finish a little faster.

Well those last 7.5 miles were painful! Not because I was physically in pain but mentally pained. My mind was all over the place. I swear the distance on my Garmin was slowing down despite my pace picking up. One mile felt like ten! I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be finished just because of mental boredom. My mental toughness is definitely out of shape when it comes to long runs!

So I started thinking about ways to survive (and thrive) during a long run when you are ready to poke your eyes out from boredom.

Tips to Survive Long Runs - happyfitmama.com

  1. Pick a new/favorite route – I should have gone with my first plan of running the infamous New Castle loop along the seacoast. It’s one of my favorite routes and one I haven’t done in months. A change will do you good. At least that’s what Sheryl Crow says.
  2. Run with a friend – Running with a friend or group makes the time pass much quicker. You talk about everything including all the fun #RunnersProblems we’ve all experienced.
  3. Listen to music – I very rarely listen to music when I run outside (on the treadmill it’s a whole different story). But when I do, it keeps me entertained for those middle miles when the ‘newness’ of the run is gone and the finish line is still far away.
  4. Break up the miles – Don’t focus on the final mileage goal. Instead break it up into smaller segments at a time. I could have broke my 14 miles down into run the first 4 easy, the next 6 at RP and the last 4 easy. It makes the long run go by quickly because you are focused on the segment instead of the entire distance.

I also really like Cori’s idea of writing down certain things that you want to think about for each mile you run. Wish I would have remembered to do that before my run on Saturday. Check it out if you haven’t already!

I’m linking up with Katie for MIMM because it’s going to be a long week!

What are your tips for surviving a long run?

26 comments on “4 Tips to Survive a Long Run

  1. That pic is beautiful – lucky you having such a lovely place to run!
    I ran one of my longest runs ever in the weekend (16km) and chose a new route that was out-and-back. Out and back is good for long runs – because once you reach your destination there is only one way home and no shortcuts!
    Sherry recently posted..Fastest 10KMy Profile

  2. Me me I would say the following:
    1. Run for time not distance. Sometimes you might go 10km in 1 hour, sometimes you might only go 7km. It doesn’t matter, at least you are out their running.
    2. If you normally listen to music, try a podcast or an audiobook, or go without it and really listen to your breathing instead.
    3. Running is a gift, one day you wont be able to do it, so enjoy it, and the moment.
    Matilda recently posted..Would You Rather #3My Profile

  3. That is one of my biggest challenges with long runs. I get bored or anxious. I wish I had better success running with friends. The last time I tried, they cancelled. 🙁 So I do most of my running alone.

    I try to break it down and that works sometimes. Yesterday, a podcast helped pass some of the time.

    Glad you made it through your run!
    Katie recently posted..Weekend In Pictures: Baseball, Clydesdales and KonaMy Profile

  4. Great advice, here. I definitely think the idea of breaking it up into smaller segments mentally helps. Also, throw in some pick-ups in the middle. It doesn’t have to be much but you break up the mundane aspect of the run, plus you get a little bonus speedwork in!
    misszippy1 recently posted..Weekend racing and running successMy Profile

  5. Running with a friend (or even a stranger, ie new friend!) is the best. The miles fly by when you’re chatting, or at least not suffering alone!

    When I run alone I usually listen to audiobooks. It keeps my mind occupied on something besides just putting one foot in front of the other. On the other hand, if I have an issue I need to mull over, I will turn off the book and let my mind flow through it. It’s amazing how often solutions to tricky problems can come to you on the run.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Runner’s Feet: Plantar Fasciitis Solutions + the Hatfield StrapMy Profile

  6. I agree a change of scenery makes a huge difference. Facing my 1st 1/2 marathon this past weekend I was full of anxiety, but because I had never run this course the miles were flying by as I was taking in the sights. I also had a list of 13 names with me that I dedicated a mile to ( the final .1 was all about me) and as I read their name out loud as I started the mile I spent the mile thinking about how, why this person is in my life. I recalled memories of us and mentally reached out to them to run alongside me when I needed it.

  7. Oh my gosh – I wish I would have read this yesterday! I had 17 on the list and my mental game was so off. It just felt so daunting that I convinced my legs they were too tired as well. I got it done but only because of sheer determination. I will definitely employ some of your above tips! Thanks!
    Amy G recently posted..“rocky wouldn’t quit”My Profile

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