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.
Instagram 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?