Thursday 14 June 2012

How to run for longer periods of time

Week six: There are three different workouts for this week. They are as follows:
Workout 1: brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, 8 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, 5 minutes running.
Workout 2: brisk 5-minute walk, then 10 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, 10 minutes running. 

Workout 3: brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes with no walking.

Both last week and this week, I've been fortunate to chat to a few other people on twitter who are at a similar stage of this Couch to 5k plan as myself. What struck me is we pretty much all feel the same way about the workouts that involve pure running; the head says no and the more we put off doing it, the more daunting it seems.

So in case this helps anyone else, here are the techniques I've used to get me through the workouts that involve long(er) periods of running:

1. It will never be as hard or bad as your head tells you it will be. You will get through each workout and you'll feel relieved and incredibly elated at your achievement.

2. Try not to think of The Run as being 25 minutes long (or however long it may be). I find it really off-putting and quite scary to think of myself as having to run for that long.

3. Consider breaking The Run down into mini-sections or markers in your head. This will make it much more do-able and easy to tackle. For example: I will run at this speed for the next 5 minutes/for the length of this song. When you hit that marker, immediately set your next goal based on how you're feeling right in that moment. My markers are never longer than 8 minutes as in my head, I'm confident I can manage to run non-stop for at least this length of time.

4. Listen to music that you love and which inspires you to keep moving. Earlier this week I started a run with only the radio for company and the majority of the music that was being played was appalling. It made my run so much harder because I couldn't distract myself from the timer on the treadmill and boy did that make the minutes stretch out!

5. You'll hit a point in The Run where your head will start shouting at you to stop as your legs can't keep going. It's a lie! Keep running! This has been happening to me in the first 8 - 10 minutes of the workouts and once I've pushed through this point, I find my feet start to find a natural rhythm and my body relaxes into it too.

6. Make yourself accountable to someone and agree with them you'll complete The Run by the end of a certain date. Having a deadline will give you that push to get on and do it and the support and encouragement of a good friend is invaluable. If you want to, you can tweet me and we can motivate each other!

Have you got any tips for completing longer runs? How do you push through the mental barriers that try and stop you from physically reaching your running goals? I'd love to hear from you.


Funky Wellies said...

Great tips! For me listening to music I love is the most important. Can't run without it.
No running for three weeks now due to a broken arm. My cast is being removed today, I hope I can start again soon.
Good luck with the training and have a nice weekend!

Wag Doll said...

Thanks for these, I find running *the* hardest challenge for me. Anything else in the gym fine, running is my nemesis, but I try and struggle through it so all tips gratefully received. I try and not think about the total length of the run, but 'just to the end of this song' 'to that tree' if I'm outside, 'to the end of that newsreport' if I'm on treadmill in gym and can see the TV.
I never run without music, just can't be done! 15 mins is my very maximum, can't do more than that because I'm too impatient and there's nothing left in the tank, usually do 5-10 mins. So very well done on getting into the longer runs, I take my sweatband off to you LOL! x

Anonymous said...

Your point 5 is the most amazing. If anyone can beat that, they'd really have a long run

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