Top Ten Ways For Long Run Motivation

By Rick Morris

Long endurance runs are usually a positive experience. They provide some nice stress relief along with their obvious physical benefits. As good as long runs are they sometimes present some motivational challenges. It can get difficult to maintain your motivation for the full long run duration. It that a big problem? Not at all! Here are our top ten ways for long run motivation.

Break It Up

Sometimes, just the thought of 20 miles or more in front of you can affect your motivation. An easy way to beat this motivational demon is to break your long run up into shorter, less intimidating segments. I like to divide my long runs into 5K blocks. I only think about the next 5K. As soon as you finish one 5K segment, begin the next. You’ll be done with your long run before you know it and your long run motivation will be high.

Change of Pace

The monotonous pace of a long run is one the most common causes of motivational problems. This one is easy to cure and it also improves your fitness. Just throw a bit of faster running into your long run. Performing segments of your long run at goal marathon pace is an excellent training technique for the marathon. You can also use paces ranging from very short sprints to longer tempo pace segments. Not only is change of pace good for long run motivation, it also improves your race performance.

Hit the Trail

For some reason, most runners do their long runs on the road. Running on a nice, scenic trail can add a lot of motivation with the great views, changing scenery and terrain changes. For long run motivation, hit the trails often.

Out and Back

Doing a long run composed of a lot of short loops can become tedious and a mental challenge. If you have problems getting motivated doing those short loops, consider doing a longer out and back long run. You only see the same landmarks twice and will improve your long run motivation.

Zen Out

Nothing makes the time fly by like a good meditation session. Your long run provides an excellent opportunity to Zen out with some stress relieving, spiritually enhancing meditation. The easy steady pace of a long run is ideal for reaching that Zen state.

Join the Crowd

Distance running is truly a solitary activity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a social one. Some nice conversion with friends will make your long run fly by. If your long runs are boring and lacking in motivation, try running with your friends or join a running group. An fun and easy way to solve your long run motivation problems.

Go to the Movies

Visualization is a tried and true method to improve your mental outlook and motivational skills. Visualization is similar to going to the movies. Instead of watching the movie, you play it in your head. You can watch any mental movie that works for you. It may be rehearsal for an upcoming race or a trip through a secluded forest. Just pick something that takes you to your happy place.

Circuit Breaker

Long runs are generally non-stop sessions. But, you can break up your long run with some body weight strength exercises. One good way to do this is stop every 2 miles for a couple of minutes of a different strength training exercise or drill. If you are running short loops you could do the cross training after each loop. This form of circuit training will improve your fitness as well as your motivation.

Grin and Bare It

Anything that is out of the ordinary will help motivate you during your long runs. Did you ever have the desire to join the barefoot running club. Here is a good way to start. Kick off your shoes and run barefoot for some short distances at different points in your long run. Be sure to carry your shoes so you can throw them back on after a short distance. Begin with very short barefoot repeats and gradually build up your barefoot distance. Soon you will be card carrying member of the barefoot running club.

Be a Trailblazer

One of the biggest motivation problems with long runs is doing them on the same loop or trail every week. Next time be a trailblazer. Run into territory that you haven’t seen before. The new sights, smells and terrain will keep you interested and motivated.