10 Ways To Completely Ruin Long Distance Running For Yourself
- Accepting a certain distance or pace as your physical limit - I was stuck for ages on the treadmill at the 10k distance and thought that I’d went as far as I could possibly go. I hit the same roadblock at 10 miles. To a certain extent I’ve hit the same block at 13.1 miles on the long run but I know I can run further than this as I’ve already ran more than that in training and in marathon races. Sometimes you train your mind to fear a distance and thereby doom yourself into never progressing past it.
- Thinking of running as a grind/something that you have to do. - You don’t have to run hard if it hurts too much. If you focus on making running a pleasure, then you’ll want to run more often and thereby make progress. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do in life. Formulate your own reasons for running and your own reasons for living.
- Expect miracles from yourself without working consciously towards your goal - If you set your race time expectation too high and don’t train for it then you’ll mess up big time. With running you will get exactly what you deserve.
- Not checking the weather before each run especially during winter – Your run might start off sunny but it could easily end in thunder or worse. I always make the point of using the 5-day-forecast on the BBC Weather website to plan out my week of running. Being aware of the weather allows you to pick the sunnier days to jog in and to plan your layers out in advance if it isn’t gonna be so good. I also check for wind direction too. This might sound obsessive but when I’m running in a circuit, I try to start off into the wind and end with it at my back. It makes those last few miles so much easier as I’ll typically spend the mid part of my run worrying about even finishing.
- Running your way through an injury – I’ve tried ‘running off’ an injured knee in the past and it has just made the condition worse instead of better. It can be hard to accept that you’re actually injured but if it saves you from aggregating your condition then it’s worth having a break.
- Putting too much pressure on yourself during long runs – It’s only recently that I’ve noticed how tense I am during the weekly distance run. It all started off with my first marathon training schedule in 2011 when I simply felt I had to cover 18 miles otherwise I’d fail in my objective of running the marathon. I still can’t shrug the notion that I’ll fuck up my long runs and this makes my training more of a struggle. This is why I’ve started throwing in longer runs during the early phases of marathon training. I’m no longer living in fear of those final few 16 and 18 milers. You can make your next big race that much more enjoyable by starting early.
- Expect other people or other creatures to be civilised – I’ve spent too long hoping that weekend warrior pavement cyclists and small dogs would stop acting like cunts. If you accept that you’re likely gonna get some amount of hassle off someone or something, then it isn’t quite as bad when it happens. You can only change your own behaviour and your own attitude in life. Getting angry at the shortcomings of others is self defeating.
- Make the same mistakes and expect better results – This one is primarily for me. I spent most of 2012 running slowly and eating badly. I kept on making the same mistake by running slowly and eating too much and all the time wondering why I wasn’t making any progress. Sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself and move forward from there by admitting you were wrong and planning a better road ahead.
- Labelling a run as ‘ bad’ without understanding why it sucked – You can learn a new lesson from every run if you listen to your body and your inner mental chatter closely enough. To progress you need to fully understand why your run went wrong. Vigilance is a virtue in running. Ignorance will hold you back.
- Breaking your marathon long run into 2 separate long runs – I’ve been guilty of this on a number of occasions. I felt like I could get through a hectic marathon schedule by running 8 miles twice to cover a 16 mile long training run. If you’re new to marathon running then you need to understand that the mental aspect to it is the hardest bit. Your mind and body need to become acclimatised to the long distances otherwise you’re likely to freak-out during the last section of a long distance race. In short, 8 miles + 8 miles does not equal 16 miles in long run training day (but 8+8 is still better than none!).
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