Long runs are....well...long. I actually enjoy them. Most of the time. But, once in a while they're a bit tedious. Thankfully, I have a good friend who doubles as my running wing (wo)man and we are both in the process of training for a fall marathon, so I haven't had to tackle any solo long runs in months. (Bless you, Kirsten). This past Saturday, my family headed over to Martha's Vineyard to spend a couple weeks with my extended family. A quick side note here; my parents no longer own a house on the island, and my sister's family is moving down to GA from CT, so I'm guessing this gathering might become a logistical challenge for all of us in the future, but for now, we're making it work, so it's all good. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love running on Martha's Vineyard. The scenery is gorgeous, the people are ridiculously nice and the new routes are a welcome change from home. But still, the long runs can be....well...really long. I'm not complaining here. I do realize how lucky we are to get to do this together each summer. But, that said, if I'm being totally honest, I find it much harder to motivate for a 2+ hour run when I'm on my own versus when I'm running along side my running partner. Go ahead and say it..."suck it up, Rebecca". Totally fair. When I woke up yesterday morning I was staring down a 15 miler. Oooh boy. I dropped my kids off at camp and then attempted to get myself mentally geared up to head out. For 2 hours. Alone. As I ran, I tried to drum up some solid distractions to help make the time and miles go by faster. I actually did pretty well. Below is a list of the many, very random ideas that I came up with. It ended up being a great run. I should mention, however, that I do miss my running buddy and I will always opt to run with her over the solo mission. Now, what was I talking about? Oh yes, distraction.
CREATIVE WAYS TO DISTRACT YOURSELF ON A LONG RUN
~ Get lost. Literally. If you're like me, you don't go out and crush your long runs. Take it easy. Rome. Explore new neighborhoods. You've got plenty of time.
~ Use your senses. Within the first 3 miles of my run I had smelled the pleasant aromas of sweet honeysuckle, I'd tasted the salty ocean air, I slowed down to listen to the crickets and cows who were making music on the farm next to our rental house and I'd stopped to stare in awe at the fields of wild flowers and the rows...and rows...and more rows of green veggies sprawled across the farms. Amazing. Look, listen, smell, touch and take it all in.
Wild flowers, Morning Glory Farm, Edgartown Bay & the Red Barron
(from top left, clockwise)
~ Run to the beat. Literally. The BPM (beat per minute) of a song is often the driving force behind our running motivation. Each time a new song comes on, shift your pace to that song's BPM. This will give you some faster miles and slower miles, depending on the music. And the surprise of what's coming next will keep you interested. Double distraction.
~ Try something new. Wait, don't go bananas and switch up your entire mid-run fuel routine. But if you always eat Vanilla GU, why not mix it up with something different? Today I tried peanut butter chocolate for the first time. Holy smokes that is some good shit. Just knowing I had something new in my pocket was a distraction. The awesome taste afterwords was an added bonus.
~ Sing. Quietly or at the top of your lungs. Personally, I prefer to belt it out. Either way, singing along with the music always gets your mind off the miles. It might get you some stares, too. But, if you've been out there for 15 miles I'm guessing you won't care.
~ Pick a new genre. Of music, that is. Choose and new decade (80s anyone?) from your iTunes library or on Pandora and groove out to some oldies but goodies. Prince and Genesis sound awesome when you haven't listened to them in a while.
~ Make new friends. Lots of people are out running on vacation. Maybe they'd prefer to run with a buddy, too? If you end up stride for stride with someone, why not start up a conversation?
~ Jump in. If you're running near a beach, a lake, even a good set of sprinklers; take your shoes off and jump in. You'll be thoroughly cooled off for the rest of the run and easily distracted by how wet you are. Don't even think about jumping in a stranger's pool. I never did that when I was a kid.
~ Work on your form. Toward the end of my long runs I tend to start dragging my feet and my posture goes to hell. Not good. Take the last few miles of your run to focus on keeping your form solid and perhaps you'll forget about the run itself.
~ Run faster. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you run faster it will end sooner. And you can stop thinking about it. Until next time.
Listen to this:
Turn Up the Radio - OK Go