There’s nothing quite like the accomplishment of a long run, yet the process of getting yourself amped for a long run – and finishing it – can be quite a struggle. Consider these six ways to enjoy those long runs.
1. Check Out of the Real World
Listening to music while you run can prevent your brain from becoming overwhelmed with feeling anxious about how far you’re going to run. Essentially, it’s a way to dissociate from your run.
According to research from Costas Karageorghis, a leading music and exercise scientist, music can boost endurance by 10 – 15% and can reduce the perception of exertion.
Break your run into numerous smaller loops to make it feel more manageable. For example, if you’re planning to run 15 miles, run five miles three times. Not only will this help make the run seem less daunting but you can also set up a water and fuel station at the point where you start the loop again.
3. Take Strength in Numbers
There are literally hundreds of studies that show exercising in groups, or with a single partner, increases stamina, lowers levels of perceived exertion, and increases how enjoyable people say the exercise was.
The ideal pace for a long run is relatively slow, which means you’ll be able to hold a conversation while you take off on our long run.
4. Have a Reward Waiting for You
There’s mounting evidence that anticipating a reward after you complete a task can serve as huge motivation to complete the task. Before you take off on your run, make a deal with yourself. Some ideas include:
- Veg out on the couch and watch an episode of your favorite guilty pleasure.
- Take 30 minutes to read a good book.
- Relax in a bubble-filled bathtub.
- Have a treat. Most runners prefer a healthier treat, like fruit or a protein bar, but if the thought of splurging on a decadent treat is what gets you through a long run then it will be well worth it.
5. Run Frequently
Running is just like any other hobby: you have to do it repeatedly to get good at it. As you run more and more your body will get better at adjusting to using the right muscle fibers to propel you forward with as little effort as possible. The more you run the better you’ll get at it – and the more enjoyable it will be.
6. Take the Path Less Traveled
A long run is a perfect time to get to know your city better. Instead of sticking to the same streets and sidewalks you always do, give a new neighborhood a shot – or better yet, run trails through a forest. You’ll take in nature, you’ll see new places, and you’ll be much more interested in running than if you run the same paths every time.
Remember that most people didn’t fall in love with running the first time they did it. Likewise, the first long run may not feel like fun right away but if you stick with it you may soon find yourself having the time of your life.