Without a doubt the long run is one of the most important parts of your overall training cycle. For months you have been building your running fitness with the goal of completing the long runs that will ultimately shape your racing fitness. But when the big day comes and your alarm goes off...you have no juice!
Is your race in jeopardy? Is your mind checking out? Should you give up now?
The answer is a resounding NO across the board. Don't worry...you are not alone. Every weekend countless runners from total newbies to the most experienced veterans struggle to do the runs required by their training plans. Here are a few tips to keep you motivated on the hardest of days to start.
Tip #1: Getting StartedDon't think about the long run itself; focus instead on simply getting ready for a run. After all, getting ready to run is easy—the concept of running 18 miles isn't. In order to do a run all you need is your shoes, your gear and maybe a watch. Done.
By breaking the longer run down into "just another run," you are effectively removing the mental obstacle 18 miles. And once you get your momentum going it will be much easier to carry that outside the door.
Another way to help pave the way for your success by doing as much prep work the night before your long run. This could be as simple as organizing your running clothes or as in-depth as laying out your nutrition, a route map and compiling a special playlist. Whatever you need, get it done before you go to bed and eliminate all those early morning excuses.
Tip #2: Get Halfway ThereThis is one of my personal favorite tips, and it's by far the simplest. Don't think about having to run an arduous 18 mile effort. Instead just focus on getting to the nine-mile mark. All you have to do then is get back home!
Seriously though, this approach also gives you the opportunity to planning for the second half of your run, where things will get more challenging. By thinking of it as two distinct parts, you'll be 100 percent ready to have a solid overall experience.
Tip #3: Be Social
If you know that being left to your own devices could mean a morning full of the "snooze" button, then plan ahead to outwit your weekend self. Do this by coordinating your longer runs with other people. If you don't have running partners, there might be other training groups or running clubs in the area who could help facilitate your longer efforts.