Sometimes the hardest part of any workout is simply getting out the door. This is especially true when the workout in question involves a long run. It can be hard enough at times to get motivated to jog just a couple of miles, and when that distance stretches out further, it can be incredibly tough to get yourself psyched up for a little roadwork. But being disciplined and mentally tough is usually the key to achieving your fitness goals, and it can pay off in these situations too. Here’s how you can get yourself mentally prepared for that long run.
Break The Run Into Segments
Let’s face it, long runs can be really monotonous at times, and just thinking about all of the miles ahead can be daunting. You can overcome this to a degree by planning out your route ahead of time and breaking it down into shorter, more digestible segments. Then when you hit the road, think about completing those individual segments one at a time rather than powering your way through the entire run. By separating the route into smaller portions you can prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed and stay more focused on the task at hand.
Create Smaller Goals Within The Run
Obviously the main goal of any run is to complete the distance that you’ve set out for yourself. In order to get through a longer workout sometimes it helps to set smaller goals that you can accomplish along the way. For instance, you may focus on reaching a certain landmark within a set time or completing a specific leg at a faster pace. These smaller goals can turn into little competitions with yourself that not only improve your fitness but also take your mind off the distance you’re running.
Give Yourself Something To Look Forward To
When preparing for a longer run it’s easier to get motivated if you give yourself something to look forward to while out on the road. For instance, most of us run with our smartphones and a pair of earbuds these days, which obviously helps to keep us entertained while working out. Leverage this technology by creating special playlists of your favorite songs and saving them for your longer runs, which will give you something to enjoy while you’re running. Better yet, interesting podcasts and audiobooks can help distract you from the distances you’re covering by giving you something else to think about along the way. Save those items just for your run, and you may find yourself looking forward to a workout just so you can find out what happens next.
Change Your Route. Often!
One sure way to get bored of your longer runs is to stick to the same route all of the time. When the scenery doesn’t change much, you’ll find yourself having a difficult time getting motivated to go run the same path once again. Mix it up by running in different parts of town or getting dropped off at a new starting point and finding your way back home. It’ll be a lot easier to head out the door if you know you’ll be seeing new things along the way, and you just might enjoy exploring new neighborhoods, parks, or roads.
Find A Running Partner
Running can be a lonely activity, particularly when you’re covering longer distances. Finding someone to run with can make your runs much more communal and improve your outlook and performance at the same time. Having a running partner doesn’t just mean you have a companion for those long workout sessions, it also makes you accountable to someone. That helps to keep you motivated while also giving you someone to chat with on the road. A bit of friendly competition can help push you to run a bit faster, too, as you challenge each other along the way.
Give Yourself A Day Off
Running is both mentally and physically taxing, and sometimes a lack of motivation springs from the fact that you simply need to take a break every now and again. If you’re finding it hard to get excited about a longer run, go ahead and skip it. Chances are your mind and body will appreciate the time off, and you’ll feel more eager to get back on the road again afterward.
Long runs are hard, and finding ways to keep them fresh is important. Hopefully these tips will help you to continue pursuing your running goals and find the motivation you need for that next workout.