Thursday, July 23, 2009

Embracing the Long Run Dragon.

Today's topic at Runners' Lounge for Take it and Run Thursday is slaying the long run dragon: "What are your best tips for getting through the long, hard, hot, hilly, sweaty, torturous but enjoyable runs?" You'll notice I changed the topic a bit in my post title and you'll see why below. And you'll probably think I've really gone and shown my Super Running Dork side this time and I'm OK with that.

Now, before I share my tips I have to say that I cannot wait to read what others have written because I'm not great with the long runs. I tend to psyche myself out and then not do them. It's something I'm working on and one thing that I've done actually works so I guess I'll make that my first tip:

Draw on past long runs when you feel your confidence wavering. When I don't think I'm up for the challenge of a long run, I remind myself that I've run 9.5 miles on the treadmill in my boring basement, 12 in 19-degree weather, 18 in the hot, hot heat of August and, most important, a marathon. I can handle whatever long run is on my schedule -- I've done it before.

But getting out the door only gets you, well, out the door. The miles are still ahead and can be tough. So my next tip is to find an interesting route to run. I can't handle laps for long runs, I have to look at fresh landscape (unless I'm stuck on a treadmill). So I plan my long runs to take me over routes that are as interesting as possible. It makes the miles go faster.

My last tip is one that I try really hard to use (but don't always succeed) for every tough run, long or not: Embrace the run. Hills? Embrace them; they are your friends. Heat? Embrace it; at least it's not cold. Longest run yet? Embrace it; you're building endurance. You know what I mean. Going into a tough run with a positive attitude will take you far. My failed runs are the ones that I told myself would be too tough -- too cold, too long, too whatever. I'm working on this tough run embrace. Sometimes I only manage a little pat on the shoulder, but I'm getting there!

Run long and happy, folks!

~ Felice

21 comments:

Count of Monte Christo said...

Taking a scenic route definitely works for me too. Looking at the scenery, listening to a book and having a drink and some food always feels good.

lindsay said...

it all depends on my mood that day! obviously i'm insane enough to spend 2.5 hours on a treadmill, but i also enjoy runs around town. i used to dread long runs and actually skipped them A LOT in marathon "training". imagine my surprise when the marathon race didn't turn out as well as expected? :)

after a few years of less-than-ideal training, i finally got the 'long run bug' and craved them. loved the feeling i get from one when it's over. love being able to say "yeah i just ran for 2 hours" (even if i'm only telling that to myself). i learned to respect the distance and appreciate my time out there alone (or with others).

sounds like you are getting there too! just remember how amazing and strong you'll feel after!

Morgan said...

I've been taking some scenic routes lately and they really help the miles melt away when you just look around you and take your mind of the run. I can't believe you ran 9 miles on a dreadmill! I would rather slit my wrists! UGH!

ShutUpandRun said...

And thanks SO much to you for telling me about the Strands contest!!! I never would have known about it if it wasn't for you!

J.J. said...

Thanks! I hear ya on the positive thinking. I haven't run anything like a marathon. With the runs that are longer for me... I say to myself "OK, make it to there" when once I get there...I repeat. I also find that daydreaming helps...me :) I love having experienced runners to listen to!

Meg Runs said...

I love this topic, can't wait to read everyone's ideas! For my long, hot runs I...

Pack cold water, recovery drinks and cold towels to lookforward to when I'm done! Chewing Gu chomps passes the time, although some people can't run and chew.

Go with a friend or two and share some good stories...you get to know people really well! Sometimes we make up topics to discuss and everyone shares...it can be fun!

In the end, when I'm really hot and tired...I have to picture the "Chi Running" visual of the bottom wheel churning(legs)and top wheel churning(upper body)and somehow, letting my body become a "machine" gets me through and I satrt thinking about other things.I even tackle hills this way and I speed up because it's the machine working, not me! I know that sounds weird but it helps!

Denise said...

I'm really glad that I LOVE the long runs. There's something about them that I look forward to them. I feel so great when they are done, even if it's not the best of runs. That must be what keeps me getting up for them.

Tina at Gotta Run Now said...

Thanks for the long run tips! I have a 9 miler planned tomorrow. Just before a long run, I like to put new songs on my MP3 player.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

great post - great ideas that will help me embrace the long runs!

The Laminator said...

Great ideas! I especially like tackling new and interesting routes. Often, I have no idea where I'm running until I'm actually running!

kara said...

9.5 miles on a treadmill! And survived to talk about it ; 0

I actually love long slow runs with no hills! I run out and back so there is noway I can cheat.
Great ideas - thanks.

merrymishaps said...

I think I would die of boredom if I ever tried to run 9.5 miles on a treadmill! I think I may have gone as far as five, once or twice. Ugh!

We liked checking out new-to-us trails to keep things interesting!

D10 said...

On long runs I usually zone off and make up stories in my head to pass the time. But, I love how you say embrace the run, that is so important.

healthy ashley said...

I love your tips. Before a long run I always get myself really excited by thinking how awesome it will feel to do X miles. It works!!

joyRuN said...

Good post!

I couldn't believe how anxious I was last week about running 11 miles - it's not like I hadn't done way more than that before.

Marlene said...

Exellent post!

I'm learning to embrace the long runs, especially the challenging ones. New routes definitely help, and having company. I also remind myself I have run further and in worse conditions - I can do it!

J said...

Mapping out the long runs can be tough but then they are always an adventure!!

trialsoftraining said...

"Embrace it" - that says it all! This post had some great timing - I really need to step up and start doing a few longer runs for a race at the end of August. My attitude about them has been "eh", but that'll be one Miserable race if I don't start now! :) Thanks for the good tips/attitude!

Terri said...

I like that and it's so true, embrace the heat because it's not cold, and especially the types of coldness that you and I have run through, like this past winter!

I am like you, I don't really like them either!

Anonymous said...

I'm training for my first 26.2 and I have really enjoyed running with a group for the long runs. We did 12 on Saturday and at about mile 10 I put my iPod on, moved to the right of the trail and followed the runner in front of me. I got lost in my head for a mile and a half and finished feeling great!

Quix said...

Embrace the run. I love it. Ever since I finished the half I've been dreading the runs because it's too hot outside even early morning and inside is boring. I'm glad I'm not starting again until Oct/Nov but then I will have to conquer running in the cold (though we rarely get below 40 here, it's still cold to me!).

My way to get through the long runs was to remember that they end. 12 miles might kick my butt, but it is a finite amount of time when I am running and it will end. That in and of itself helps me. I can endure anything as long as I know when it will end. :)

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