How to Stay Motivated for Those Long Runs
For any runner training for a distance race, long runs are important. Putting in the miles on a regular basis allows your body to adapt and adjust. But staying motivated for these long runs week after week can be challenging. Other responsibilities can get in the way and distract us. Inclement weather can convince us to postpone it until another day. The key, however, is to adopt a long run strategy that keeps your running motivation high. With a little bit of planning and effort, it’s easier than you might think.
Tips for Boosting Your Running Motivation
Any long run strategy should include some basic advance preparations. Making sure you have proper nutrition for your run as well as hydration is certainly important. Likewise, getting adequate rest, warming up, and your post-run stretching is similarly essential. But in terms of your running motivation, there’s a few other things you’ll want to consider. Here’s a list of some proven techniques that many runners use as part of their long run strategy.
- Remove the Barriers
Your motivation for a long run can quickly fade when other challenges get in the way. Therefore, be sure to eliminate as many obstacles as you can that might get in the way. Prepare your running gear ahead of time. Stay organized and schedule your long run at a specific time. And plan for your long run while making it a priority. Removing the barriers will help get you out the door, which is often a major challenge by itself.
- Take Small Bites
Constantly thinking about the total miles of your long run can be rather intimidating and undermine your running motivation. Therefore, an effective long run strategy involves envisioning your long run in smaller segments. Break the run into quarters or thirds, and celebrate completing each segment along the way.
- Make It Fun and Enjoyable
Many runners push themselves too hard on long training runs. As a result, their minds soon associate long runs with pain and misery. This is the worst thing for sustaining your running motivation. Instead, start slow and run at an easier training pace. Let the run be fun and enjoyable. This is a much better long run strategy and can help you actually look forward to your next long run.
- Keep a Positive Spin
Positivity is a powerful influencer on your running motivation. By having a positive attitude and growth mindset, you empower yourself. For example, instead of saying, “I’m only halfway,” you should say, “It’s all downhill from here.” You’ll naturally stay focused and motivated with a long run strategy that embraces positivity. And when complete, you will feel more accomplished and energized.
- Invite Creativity and Novelty
Nothing can deplete your running motivation on your long runs more than repetition. You long run strategy might include a tried and true course with which you are familiar. But familiarity can sometimes invite boredom, which is definitely the enemy. Take the time and map out new courses. Explore new areas. There’s often so much to see especially if your long run is covering several miles.
- Make It Social
It’s no secret that running in a group or with friends helps your running motivation. Combined with an easy running pace, social runs offer conversational distractions. Likewise, knowing other runners are expecting you adds an accountability factor. Social runs are a great long run strategy to boost motivation.
Be Patient and Try Different Techniques
When it comes to a long run strategy, you should focus on being the tortoise and not the hare. As runners, we often want to see results immediately. But our bodies adjust to distance running in a more gradual way. Therefore, it’s important to stay patient with whatever long run strategy you choose. And it’s important to try different techniques that keeps your own running motivation high. By following these basic rules, you’ll find your long runs are much more enjoyable.