Sometimes I like to go back through some of my old blog posts and read about what life was like a few years ago. I was reading about my old crazy runs of 22+ miles that I frequently did and it made me wonder how in the world I used to do that. My life has changed just a little bit in the last little while but it was interesting to see that running for 3 hours straight used to be no big deal to me.
My mileage is gradually getting higher now which always gives me a little anxiety and thinking about a fall marathon is kind of scary so I thought we would talk about ways to get comfortable running longer and longer distances.
How we can enjoy these longer distances:
-Take a rest day the day after your long run. I love doing this because then during my long run I think about how the next day I get to spend my whole day on the couch and it helps me push through the run and feel comfortable running a longer distance.
-Follow a training plan. It will make your life so much easier. It will have you GRADUALLY increase your mileage which will help you to get to those long runs injury free. My first marathon training plan is HERE along with a few more ideas of where to get training plans. You didn’t go from kindergarten to college quickly so don’t do that with your running…go through each grade before moving to the next (did that analogy make any sense?).
-ONE DAY AT A TIME. When you are using a training plan don’t look at what you’ll be doing later on in the training because it well stress you out. I remember for my first marathon I almost passed out when I saw that I would be running 20 miles at one time in the future. Focus on the day or week that you are in and before you know it you will have slowly built up to the crazy long distances.
-Split it up. Let’s say you have a 15 miler to do this week. I ALWAYS tell myself things like it is just 3 5 mile runs:) When I think of it split up in to smaller increments it is so much easier to do.
-If you can’t get a partner to run your whole long run with you then get someone to do the last few miles with you because that is bound to help you enjoy the last few miles of your long run more than if you were just by yourself. Brooke makes an awesome long run buddy.
- FUEL PROPERLY. I don’t care who you are, if you aren’t fueling properly your longer distance runs are not going to be comfortable. Start fueling early on in your run so that you can stay on top of your energy stores so that you don’t ‘hit the wall.’ Eat something simple before your run and refuel with some protein and carbs within an hour after your long run to help speed up recovery.
-Don’t be afraid to take breaks. Long runs are all about time on your feet and taking a few walking breaks is not going to take away from the fact that you ran X amount of miles. If allowing yourself a few walking breaks or drinking breaks throughout your run helps you to feel more comfortable about the distance then DO IT:)
-Take a cut back week. I think we mentally and physically burnout if we are doing more and more running each week. Every 2 or 3 weeks take a week to cut back and do a ‘shorter long run.’ Most plans have the cut back week built in to them so that you have a week that you aren’t adding more mileage but instead recovering a little bit.
-Remember that your mental strength is so important just like your physical strength is when it comes to running. Fake it to make it. Change your perspective from ‘I have to’ to ‘I GET TO.’ If you are just thinking about your excuses or the hard things about the situation (i.e. weather, not getting enough sleep etc) then you are guaranteed to not enjoy your longer run. Find SOMETHING positive about your situation (whether it be the fact you get to eat pancakes the second you walk in the door, you really like your running shorts or the trees around you look extra beautiful that day) and think about that.
-You are so much stronger than you think you are. Realize that it is going to be uncomfortable at times during your long runs and that is okay. Your mind tells you to quit long before your body needs to. Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable.
-SLOW DOWN. Running longer distances is asking a lot from your body so don’t add the extra stress of running these longer distances fast. When I think about increasing my weekly long run it seems a whole lot less scary when I remember that I get to do it at a comfortable pace and it isn’t supposed to be fast. Key word…comfortable.
What are you training for? What are some of your long term running goals?
Where do you get your training plans from?
Where were you at with your running a few years ago? Are you running more than you used to or less? Are you more in to running or less than you used to be?
TWO things you have done so far today?