If you want to build endurance then you have to run long. But the problem with running long is that it can be a boring, painful and tiring experience. This makes it hard to get motivated to even do it. However, if you want to successfully complete half marathons, marathons, and beyond, you need to get “time on your feet.” Here are some ways to make long runs easier.
Running a long distance can be tiring, and joggling makes it even more exhausting. It’s a proven fact that if you slow down, it will be easier to run for longer. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some stretches of walking in there too. There are some running coaches who advocate a run/walk system of training. I’ve never adopted it because I personally find it too difficult to walk while juggling.
For the first 6 years of my running “career” I didn’t listen to anything while I worked out. The simple act of running and the outside noises and sights were enough to keep me going. But then I put on a set of headphones, listening to music then shifting to NPR and finally audiobooks and podcasts. Now, I enjoy running much more. I get to listen to my shows, read books, and it just makes things more compelling. And if I ever don’t feel like listening to anything, I can simply take out my headphones. No problems.
Living in a big city is a bonus for long runs. I can go on a tour of Chicago running down town among all the skyscrapers, then past the art museum, the aquarium, the famous parks, the zoo, and even good ol’ Wrigley Field where the Cubs play. The tour keeps me motivated and makes me forget about any pain of long distance running.
This is similar to the last tip but different. Rather than running a simple out and back loop, plan your long run so you run to a place. You can then have someone pick you up or take public transportation back home. When I was training for the 50 miles while juggling ultramarathon, I ran from my house in Chicago to my sister’s house out in Lemont, Illinois. It was a 34 mile path and turned out to be a lot of fun.
Some people will suggest you run with a hydration belt but I’ve never found that to be too comfortable. Plus, I wouldn’t want to run with any excess weight. My solution is to bring a credit card and make sure there are a number of stores or gas stations available on my path. Joggling in the city makes this really easy because there are stores everywhere. If you are a country runner, you’ll have to be more thoughtful about where the stores are so you can refuel. It’s also a good idea to carry an ID in case the store needs it to run a credit card transaction.
Long runs can be daunting and it is probably the number one reason people do not do marathons. However, they don’t have to be drudgery and if you follow some of these tips, they can actually be rather fun.