Running can be grueling or even boring but it does not have to be so. Long distance running in particular can be… well, long!
A run longer than an hour is not short (duh) and the biggest issue is the the wandering mind. The legs go (especially with the Hokas) but the mind is wandering all over the place and that makes the run much more difficult.
The key to keep going for me is to prevent the mind from interfering with “It’s late” “I have to get up early tomorrow” “I forgot to call so and so” “I didn’t write anything today” “It’s cold” “It’s hot” all that chatter is absolutely endless. You get the picture, we are all in the same boat.
For me, the way to avoid the chatter is:
1: Have a race schedule. This gives a goal and keep you “on the road” and keeps the mind from “winning”.
2: Focus on the finish line. It is easier to decide how long you are going to run before running rather than leaving it open. Some people use a schedule to eliminate the guess work. I prefer to gauge myself and decide as the week goes on. If I ran a race on the week end I am not going to run a 15k on Tuesday night. I adapt my running to what I am doing most particularly since my work may keep me at the office until 10PM; so I loosely plan my week with 5K, 10K, 15K and 25K runs. I chose as the week goes along generally two or days ahead. At the end of the week I must not have compromised on distance and my base training.
3: To make the longer runs comfortable I concentrate 100% on myself. I get into an internal mode and watch where my body energy is in order to not be distracted. It is akin to Qi Gong.
Energy within the body shift. It usually shows up as a slow moving ball. Once it kicks in I try to stay focused on it. It can stay in one area like the ankle and then may shift to the left arm or the back of the head, where ever it is, is where I bring my attention. Focusing on the movement it produces in the area really breaks boredom and I believe allows me to run faster. It certainly makes time, timeless.
4: When I am not focused on the Chi in my body I may be with people. Once, my whole family showed up in my mind. It was beautiful; my dad, sister, aunts and uncle were there, all alive in my mind and carrying me through. They were all cheering me on and I completely forgot about myself. I felt light and transported and the pains were gone.
Another time, Jeff came in my mind. Jeff was the 2012 winner of the Barkley marathons in Tennessee, one of the most difficult races in the world. He was not only the winner but he also broke the record by 3 hours. I was with him for what I would estimate to be a good half an hour. I felt like I was totally absorbed in his extensive running experience, determination and focus. It totally carried me. I also marveled at being One with him, he was with me, a real inspiration.
Staying focused like this, harnessing energy from outside has helped me greatly to run up to 50K in a far easier fashion than if I were only with myself.
I hope that helps and until next time, happy running and dont forget, you don’t need to pop pills to achieve. If you have knee pain, order the gel and you will be amazed. If you find yourself popping a couple of analgesics after a work out try my muscle gel. It won’t mess up your GI tract like meds do and you will recover in a far deeper way with it than you ever imagine.