Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tips for a Wanna-Be Long Distance Runner

As I said in a previous post, long distance running is just not my thing. I've been trying to iron out some of the kinks that prevent me from getting the distance I desire. The first thing I had to do was decide what my problems were and go from there.

I've been doing a lot of trial and error things lately and I think I've found a few things that work pretty well. I hope one or two of these tips can aid in getting you underway to beating the long distance rut!

1. Make it interesting. One of my biggest problems is boredom. Running outside is a little easier to get distracted by the run because of the scenery around. Going down different streets and getting somewhat lost totally helps with passing the time. As for running on the treadmill - that's where the boredom kicks in. Try people watching. Basically just look around and (i know this is bad) judge what people are doing. Make up stories about them in your head, look how ridiculous they're shirt looks. Maybe even envy their fresh new Nikes. Anything to get the run off your mind a bit.

2. Create a killer playlist. I don't know about you, but when I'm down to crappy playlists that I've had forever, it definitely puts a damper on my run. I'm unmotivated, I don't want to be there and I find myself being okay with running a little less that day because my song choices are just not up to par. Spend some time before you hit the gym making a playlist that's going to make you want to keep going.

3. Run for time, not distance. I know this seems like a bit of contradiction because I'm supposedly giving you tricks to go a longer distance. However, If you're constantly focusing on how far you've gone you may get a little discouraged. Instead, say to yourself, "Today I'm going to run for 15 minutes at ___ mph." Don't look at the mileage until those 15 minutes are done. If you're still not satisfied after the 15 minutes, say "I'm going to run for 7 more minutes at the same pace". You'll be surprised with how far you can go with a little goal setting.

4. Gradually increase your time and speed. Try doing a day-by-day schedule. If you're just starting out, maybe decide that Monday you'll run at a speed of 5.5 for 15 minutes. Tuesday push that to 17.5 minutes, and then Wednesday maybe to 20 minutes. After increasing the time, stay at that time and increase the speed. By gradually doing this, you'll be setting goals day by day and meeting them as you make them. Make sure not to set goals that are too unrealistic.

5. Run the length of songs. This is one I just tried the other day. It's basically one step up from tip #3 ties in with tip #2. Rather than running for time, run for the length of songs. So, for example, run 3 songs lengths at 7.0, 2 songs at 7.5, one song at 8, then 2 songs at 6.5. You'll be really surprised at how far you've ran when you're focusing on the songs rather than the length or time you've ran.

6. Try not to get discouraged. This is a big one for me. I often get something in my head and automatically either want it so bad (when it comes to clothes, shoes or food) or want to achieve it right away if it's a goal. You have to remember that things like this do not just happen over night. You can't wake up one day and say, "Hey! You now what? After not training one single day, I'm going to run a marathon today!" Great goal, don't get me wrong, but things like that take time and effort to achieve. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.

These things have really been helping me lately and I hope it gives you some inspiration to try them out and start succeeding in getting past the wanna-be stage and into the "I AM" stage. I'm personally still in the wanna-be stage, but patience is a virtue!

Here's a song to jump start that killer playlist!

What are some of your workout/running tips?

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