I’ve reached the point in training where a six-mile run feels like slacking. Once you get used to running over 10 miles at a time, shorter runs during the week feel like cheating. The problem is that this logic does not apply to long runs – they still just feel long. In addition to the physical challenge of piling on miles, I’ve come to realize that the hardest part is mental. Sure, I can be a cheerleader for myself mentally waving pompoms as I cross mile markers along my route, but the fact of the matter is I just get bored. Luckily, I have found a few ways to combat the boredom:
I hate to brag, but my iTunes library is remarkable. As a former Spin instructor, I have pop tunes for every taste and from every era. From Bee Gees to Beiber, if it has a good beat, I’ve got it. The problem is that at some point the strong, monotonous beat of pop music begins to wear on me. I run to the beat, breathe to the beat and even begin to think to the beat. I need something more.
Running’s best kept secret. The idea of running with a buddy and chatting for 15 miles is great but in reality you are out of talking points and out of energy to coordinate your mouth, brain AND feet all at the same time by mile five. Instead, I download podcasts- specifically This American Life. This provides me with a built-in running buddy. He makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me think but NEVER makes me talk. If only Ira Glass new how many miles we’ve logged together!
Everybody loves them. Lucky for us, the city of Boston is literally packed with puppies. Running along any body of water or through any public park usually guarantees a high rate of puppy sightings. I realize this may not be enough of a distraction for some runners, but when the monotony of 15 miles-worth of pop music has turned your brain to mush a thought as simple as “OOOH! PUPPY!” can go a very long way.
This weekend presents a new challenge: 16 miles without losing my mind. With the impending blizzard, I may be forced to log my miles on the dreaded treadmill, which takes my puppy distraction out of the equation. I’m hoping for a good trashy reality TV marathon playing at the gym. Any other ideas for entertainment during a long run?