Some days I am just itching to get out on my long run. I bounce out of bed and I’m raring to go. I feel like a gazelle and I could run forever; I have no doubt that I will accomplish my target distance that day.
Unfortunately, there are also those days when I just do not feel like being out there for 90min or more…it could be lack of sleep, a hard week of training; it could be the grey, dreary weather, but for whatever reason, I just do not have the motivation to go for that essential long run.
In marathon training, the long run truly is key for my training. I cannot skip it – and neither can you, if you have goals for half marathon, marathon (or longer?)! So, we need to make use of mind games and little tricks to get us through the long run on those energy-deficient days. Here are strategies that work well for me:
- Training group and training buddies. You have a commitment to meet them – so just get out there for their sake.
- Commit to the bare minimum when you set out – “I know I can run at least 8km”. Start with that….and then go from there.
- Take it one km at a time – feel good about each km that you accomplish. Momentum will start to pick up; surprisingly the kilometers just keep adding up and before you know it you have have gone 18km, not 8…before you know it you have met your target distance (for me 21km today).
- Laugh along your run thanks to great training partners. We had a few good laughs today on our long run and it made the run a lot more enjoyable.
- Bring along a power gel or some sports drink – when your sugar gets low, your mood and your energy really take a dip. Sometimes a power gel is all you need to perk you up. One with caffeine will give you even more energy!
- Run a new route for interest and to distract you from the hard work.
- Run away from your home rather than doing loops too close to home to avoid the temptation to cut your run short. Even better, if you have someone to drive you away from your home at the target distance you need to run – you have no choice but to run the full distance to get back home (unless you resort to hitch hiking).
Push through the days of low motivation and you become tougher and stronger. Keep doing this and nothing will come between you and your goals.