Monday, February 13, 2017

8 Tips to Make Your Long Run a Bit Less Hellish

Happy Monday! (<oxymoron)

I'll start this post off with a gross disclosure. I thought I'd make it to the age of 50 without having a hemorrhoid, but I was wrong! I'm officially 9 days short of turning 50, so DAMN, almost made it. You can do with that what you'd like. You are welcome.

So, I'm curious. Do you all have weird bodily stuff come up after your long runs?

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I did a 16 mile run this weekend. I love my IG stories. They are full of the most mundane shit. Did you also know I made shrimp scampi? That I took Heidi for a bath? That I wore a plunging neckline to a party and didn't care that there was no cleavage? You get all of this and more if you follow me in IG and look at my stories.

Moving on.

Let's talk about the long run. Let's talk about the mental fortitude needed to complete the long run.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, my head wasn't in the game. It was kind of a cool, grey morning. But, that wasn't really the problem. The problem was wrapping my head around the distance and how long I would be out there. It had been along time since I had done a 16 mile long, steady run on the road. I wasn't worried about finishing the run, I knew I could that. I was more in my head about the number "16" and how that seemed so far. I've run 16 miles so many times before, but it just felt different. I think it's because i wanted to nail a certain pace and that would mean plodding along, steadily, without many walk breaks like I find on the trails.

Just skipping along


There's no magic to getting motivated for the long run. You just do it. It can be mundane. You are out there a long time. It can get lonely. But, it can also be a time for reflection and zoning out. The long run is a test in perseverance, discipline and determination. And, believe it or not, there are some tips that can make it just a tad easier.

1. Plan a Route You Can Get Excited About. I like to use Map My Run to get creative. There’s nothing like starting a 20 mile run already bored to tears with where you are going. I’d rather drive a bit to start somewhere that inspires me versus following some old worn out route that puts me to sleep. Here was this weekend's run. I do love the back-roads of Boulder County.



 2. Drag Someone Along. Distraction is a wonderful tool. Bring a friend and talk about every mundane thing you can think of like Beyonce's even fuller breasts since getting pregnant or how long it takes corn to move through your system (this is very easy to figure out. Just keep a diary of when you had corn chowder and when it showed up later). A good friend will also share supplies with you like toilet paper, an extra gel, a tampon or condom (now that really would make your long run more fun).

3. Bring Happy Fuel. If you hate the taste of gels, but you eat them because you are “supposed to” or they were on sale, that’s no fun. Bring along your most favorite candy or gel flavor.  Maybe companies should market cocktail themed gummy treats for runners (jam packed with electrolytes and carbs of course) like Rum Runner (get it?), Sex on the Beach (for the wild crowd), Bloody Mary (for those running in the morning or during Sunday brunch time) and Mint Julep (for the Southerners).  My favorite choice these days:


4. Tell People Even If They Don’t Care. I like to let a few friends know if I’ve got a really long run (say 16-20 miles) because in my head I think they are cheering me on and that they really care if I finish or not. Somehow it holds me accountable. Ok, maybe my mom just cares, but so what?

5. Break the Mileage Up. Do not start the run and think “Yay! only 19.82 miles to go!” Think “Okay, only 5 miles until I can have my uncrustable”, then “Only 5 miles until half way” etc. I find that 5 miles feels manageable in my head, but use what increments work for you (three 10Ks plus a bit more, two 10 milers – you decide).

6. Get Lost in Your Head. If running alone, let your mind wander. Meditate as you listen to your breathing and the sound of your feet. Focus on the sights and sounds around you. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line of the race you are training for and how it will feel to meet your goal. 

7. Try Not To Stare At or Be Consumed By Your GPS. Watching your GPS and waiting for the miles to tick by is a bit like watching a pot of water until it boils. It feels like forever. Just let it go. Tell yourself you’ll check in every 30 minutes, every 3rd song on your iPod, whatever. But, don’t constantly check it or you will feel like you ran 40 miles, not just 20.

8. Make a new playlist that gets you all fired up. Or listen to podcasts. Personally,, I like listening to podcasts while driving, but not while running. If I listen to anything, it'll be music. In lieu of a playlist, sometimes I like to put on Pandora and to just be surprised by what comes on. 

Any tips you have for making long runs just a bit easier?

Weird body issues after long runs? 

SUAR