Marathon Training Update: Staying Sane During Long Runs

Marathon Training Update: Staying Sane During Long Runs

My latest marathon training update deals with how not to lose your mind when you’re on the road for over 2 hours. First, here’s a quick recap of how my last two long runs went.

30K Fun Day

The week before my 30K, I wrote about a horrendous 27K. I’m happy to say that things improved. The weather was perfect and I decided not to run 10 & 1’s. I planned an all seawall route from Gastown all the way to Kitsilano Beach Pool. That is one long continuous path. I then ran back east along West 4th Avenue. The original plan was to run all the way to Quebec and then downhill towards home. Fortunately, by the time I hit Cambie Bridge I didn’t need the extra distance. I just sucked it up and climbed over the bridge so I could get home faster. Cuski ran into me at the bridge so I thought that timed out perfectly 😛 Compared to my 27K, I had a faster overall average pace and finished in less time. I will consider that a victory.

21.1K Wet Day

Last weekend was miserable but in hindsight, I think it was another successful long run. The good news was that I only had to run 21K, instead of 30. That’s such a funny thought… “only 21K” but it’s true… I was only out for 2 and a half hours compared to almost 4. It makes a huge difference. The weather was cold and rainy and I really had no motivation to go out… but I did anyway. It ended up not being too bad. I stopped at certain points to adjust my clothing because it got hot and then later on, the wind picked up. I didn’t walk at all though… aside from the quick photo stops and adjusting, I managed to keep running until I got home. Not bad even though I ran about 9K the day before.

What I Did to Stay Sane

Being on the road for hours can get pretty boring. Here are some things that kept me sane during my long runs…

  • Focus on the music… bob your head or dance if you need to 😛
  • Divide the route in segments and knock it off as you go
  • People-watch… you may see someone you know!
  • Take photos… I love documenting runs, especially long ones.
  • Acknowledge fellow runners… showing a little support and camaraderie gives me a little boost
  • Pre-plan your route so you know exactly what your status is at any point
  • Fuel up… eating a chunk of energy bar, sipping my Nuun, or consuming a gel sends a jolt to your system
  • Run with people… sure, not everyone is willing to run 30K with you but if they’re willing to run a 10K and someone else wants to do a 10K, meet up with these people at various points of your run. It breaks up the run and adds the fun social element to it. Or join a running group who is running the distance you plan to do.

What do you do on your long runs? How do you maintain focus? Share your tips in the comments section below.