Motivation for the long run

Tips to refresh your running body and mind

The all-important long run is considered the key to marathon success and is extremely important to your training, as it dramatically increases your weekly mileage. Usually done once a week, the workout can vary in length from 6-20 plus miles (approx 9.5-32km) depending on your training schedule. However, while some runners relish the long run, others struggle for motivation. Here's the guide to refreshing your mind and body and conquering the run.

For those of you who have trained for a marathon, or are currently undertaking the daunting task for the first time, you're familiar with the all-important long run. Considered the key to marathon success, this workout is usually done once a week, and can vary in length from 6-20 plus miles depending on your training schedule. The long run is extremely important to your training, as it dramatically increases your weekly mileage, boosts your maximum aerobic capacity (VO2 max), and strengthens your leg muscles.

Aside from the physical benefits of a long run, many runners look forward to this workout. They see it as an opportunity to spend some quality time alone, or perhaps enjoy the company of other runners. However, as is the case with many workouts, there are days when long run feels like an eternity. Arms and legs seem to be working against each other, you’re constantly checking your watch to see how long you’ve been running, and secretly hope your shoelaces will come untied so you'll have a reason to stop.

So what can you do rouse your mind and body the next time you're having a bad running day? Here are some tips on how to motivate yourself through your next long run.

  • Listen to upbeat music. Whether it's Beethoven, Bob Dylan or Beyonce that gets your blood pumping and feet moving, listen to upbeat music while you're getting ready for your next long run. Starting off on a good note can have an extraordinary effect on your attitude.
  • Break your run into segments. During your next long run, break the workout into less intimidating sections. Try running for 20-30 minutes and then walking for two to five minutes. Your endurance benefits will be the same as if you had run the entire time, but you'll remain refreshed throughout your workout.

  • Use positive visualisation. This technique can be especially effective during the last few miles of the workout. Visualize yourself achieving your race day goals as friends and family cheer you on. You'll be amazed by how the body achieves what the mind believes.

  • Pace yourself. Make sure you begin your long workouts at a slow pace. This will give your body an opportunity to loosen up, as well as warm up to the idea of a long run. Sometimes the difference between feeling good and feeling bad during a long workout is only 10-20 seconds per mile.

We hope these tips help you on your next long run.

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