Here’s the deal… I’m not one of those folks who LOVES exercise. I don’t thrive off of the idea of it and I don’t come home from work or greet the day with a loud, “Wahooo! I get to work out today!”. In fact, if you were to invite me to some kind of boot camp class or a movie, I would choose the latter, every.single.time. I would rather go-go-gadget the remote, or coffee than my Hokas.
This should indicate just how much I actually like running. I get up on my own accord and run some miles. Yep, plural. Weird. That being said, the long run isn’t easy for me – the impending miles seem a bit overwhelming to be honest. So here are my tips to get through, you know, just in case you are a lazy runner like me.
1. Get off of the couch. Yes, this is one of the hardest steps. Then procrastinate a bit more before getting ready. Yesterday I tried out a new hairstyle. Look at the Health and Fitness pinterest page for some motivation or read a running blog to get all jazzed. Then I really have to get off of the couch.
2. Wear comfortable underwear (or dress for success, whatever this means for you). I’m not one of the commando runners and proper undies is very important for me. Uncomfortable ones will make me cut short a run every time. I could continue but I’ll leave it at that. The rest of the outfit should be comfortable and make you feel confident. I have this jacket from Costco that was cheap and fits so well! It’s super cute and locks and loads my upper half. Oh and it has lots of pockets! Yesterday, I wore a shirt from a race I didn’t run. Shaming can be a helpful motivator as well.
3. A good playlist. This is probably obvious but a good one can really amp me up. There are certain songs which basically keep me running even when I don’t want to. There are other songs that remind me of people in my life and I end up thinking about them as I run. Sometimes I leave the tunes behind but this is typically on the shorter runs. It’s kind of like bribery by music.
4. Plan your route. On a long run a few months ago I thought out a route that I swore would be 19 miles round trip. Planning out a 19 mile route is actually tougher than I anticipated and not even half way through I was very discouraged because the miles weren’t adding up. It was like running through quicksand without making any progress. And it broke my spirit. When I plan it out, at least I don’t have any misconceptions of how many miles I am running. Reality seems to help… well, sort of. I can be in denial that I am running X miles but then not have my soul crushed when my garmin registers 3 when it feels like 10.
5. Visualize. When I am starting to hurt I think of past races where I surpassed my own expectations. I make sure to stick with recent races. Or I think about how I will feel at the finish line of my next race. This is what I did with Dopey and I was surprised by the effectiveness. Plus it got me excited to get to the finish line.
6. Create a mantra. Some people will do things like, “kill the hill” or something along these lines. Mine? I say, “focus on form, not on pace”. Sometimes “pace” turns to “pain” – it just depends on which mile I am running. I know, it doesn’t seem like something that shoots my motivation through the roof but it has a good beat and keeps me focused. I don’t think a mantra has to make a tiger roar – it has to get me through the miles.
7. Rest day. Tell yourself you only have 2 more runs until it’s a rest day! Or at least a cross training day. I never count the days, as in 2 more days until a rest day since this makes it seem very far away. Counting the actual runs makes it seem much closer!
8. Walk breaks. I used to think walk breaks were the worst! I felt as though I failed. Now, I’ve learned to recognize the benefit of walk breaks. I read an article that talked about how walk breaks also build endurance so I started to be okay with them. I still like it better when I can run the whole route but you know, I don’t feel like a failure anymore.
9. Stick to downhills. At least as much as possible. Yesterday I started my route backwards so I climbed the toughest hill first and then the rest of the run was a bit better. It’s fairly hilly around me anyway but I didn’t incorporate some of the more beastly ones. I was too tired from Saturday when I didn’t follow my own advice.
10. Work off your circadian rhythm. On weekends I love to sleep in a bit, drink coffee, hang out on the couch and catch up on whatever is on the telly. I like running in the afternoon/evenings much better. Careful about waiting too long – this can lead to, “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Trust me.
11. Tweet. Not when you are done – before! And ask for encouragement. Our twitter friends come through with “you can do it!” and the cheers help me out. Then tweet when you are finished. You/I deserve the accolades. Also, I always imagine cars driving past me thinking one of the following: “Go runner girl go!” – this is from a fellow runner. “Wow, I wish I could do this too” – this is from someone who wants to run. “What an idiot!” – this is from someone has some respect but doesn’t understand running. Chances are no one is thinking anything but I like to pretend I have cheerleaders everywhere.
12. Take the phone. This way, you won’t feel rushed to get back for an important call or possibly miss that text you’re hoping comes through from that certain someone. Taking your phone alleviates this (not that he texted anyway but this is more of a personal issue!). Oh and for safety.
13. Be proud. Yay! We did it! I’m not sure if long runs are harder for lazy runners or not but I know it takes quite the effort to get up and go. You know how people say, once you are out there you are fine? Nope. I can be out there and cut it short. Or how about, just get dressed and then you don’t have any excuses. Nope. I’ve been half way dressed and decided not to go. Completing the miles is always a big deal for me. It doesn’t come naturally and I push hard to accomplish each mile. Then there is that endorphin rush when I am finished (most of the time) and then I’m all jacked to do it again next time. This running thing is quite strange.
I am excellent with excuses. So, I have to be very diligent when it comes to long runs because I can think of TONS of thing to do other than hit the pavement. Like take a nap. Since I want the end result, a sub-2 half marathon time, be in better shape and some kick ass leg muscles, I need to do the work. So annoying. I wish that once you have run a marathon or a 1/2 that your body could always do it. You know, like riding a bike. Then all you would have to do is some extra speed training. Maybe in another universe…