Long run day. I started off by waking up at 4:20am on Friday. If possible, I really love to have an hour to drink coffee and snuggle the little dog. Gives my body some time to wake up and there will be a whole bunch of sitting around on race day, so why not practice it now?
I had a banana and peanut butter and a Rip Van Wafels traditional flavor, filled up the hydration pack and headed out. That pack STINKS btw. TMI maybe. But facts are facts. I guess I will try throwing it in the wash…
Anywho. I was feeling tired and sore and just not that into it. Then I started running and really felt like it was going to be a bad run. I mean no day when I can run is really bad, but it’s more like I knew it was going to hurt for the whole 18 miles and wouldn’t be able to hit my paces and just give up and go home why don’t you?
But then I thought what I would tell my friends if they were talking about themselves like I was talking to myself. I mean, you wouldn’t let your best friend talk shit about their abilities and their body, right? So why do we tolerate it from ourselves?
I like to think of myself as a pretty positive person beneath my sarcasm. But I had never tried literally thinking good thoughts during a run before. It was weirdly embarrassing at first. I don’t know why because no one would know what I was thinking until I type it all here. But it felt unnatural. But everyone it got so hard I would think I had to stop, I just thought positive thoughts again. “You are doing great, these are just miles in the bank, you can keep going, your form looks awesome.”
Ok – ok kidding. We all know it works. But I never thought of it in the framework of talking to myself like I would talk to a friend. Let’s be real – 99% of the mean things we tell ourselves we would never say to a friend.
Some other great ways of getting through a tough run:
1. Instead of thinking of it as running 18 miles, think of it as running chunks. For example, I took a gel at mile 6 & 12. So I thought of it like I was doing three 6 mile runs.
2. Don’t be afraid to fuel. I used to have this mentality that it meant I was tough if I could get through a run with less fuel. News flash – running fast up and down hills burns a hell of a lot of body energy. Also known as calories. So don’t be afraid to fuel like you would on race day. It’s much better if you get to practice this more often. This goes for hydration too. Whether that means a hydration pack, a hand held bottle or something else, it makes a huge difference.
3. Music – I have a special race playlist that I only listen to during races, so I won’t get sick of it. But sometimes, when I’m REALLY struggling, I’ll tell myself that I can listen to it at X mile. For example, for the 18 mile run, that was at mile 9. Just get to the turn around point, and then you can put on the playlist.
4. Hills can actually help you. USUALLY (except in some parts of San Francisco), when you are road running, what goes up will come down. Glue your eyes to the top of the hill and charge. Then you get to go sailing down.
5. If you can run all or part of the long run with a friend, the miles will fly by. I have even called my mom or friends for a few miles!
What are you tricks for conquering a tough run?