Much like last week, this week started off somewhat rough. My brother in law being in town was so much fun, but also a little rough on my recovery. After my long run on Saturday, I was not feeling very motivated for my second long run of the week. I got out there, but I called it after 10 miles. The entire time I was out on the trails, I was having a mental battle. Sure, I was a little more exhausted than usual, but honestly I just wasn’t in the game mentally. I’ve learned a few ways to keep myself entertained while running, and this run I used every single tactic for beating boredom. Honestly, if I didn’t have these little strategies, my run would have been over after 5k.
I spent the entire rest of Sunday resting, and took Monday as a full day of rest. By Tuesday, I was ready to go. I took the morning off work for a late doctors appointment, and was able to sleep in just a little bit before my run. It felt great to get the run done and out of the way without having more miles to cover in the afternoon. On Thursday, my long-suffering cousin agreed to meet me for a couple of miles on the greenway. We saw a skunk, a baby deer, and a rabbit; basically the cast of Bambi! It was nice to have some company during a tough workout.
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Earlier in the week, some hometown friends asked if we’d be interested in running a very short, relay race. Of course! Saturday afternoon, my grandparents drove up to spend some time with our little guy while we ran. And we got to hang out for a couple of hours as solo adults. It’s the little things in life. We hadn’t seen my grandparents since March, so it was really great getting to spend some time together. It was definitely not easy to go out for a 2 mile run after my 20 mile run that morning, but anyone can pull it together for half an hour.
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Overall, the week was pretty calm and uneventful. The temperatures were back up to hotter than hell, and I’m definitely looking forward to the end of summer running. More importantly, I’m really looking forward to spooky season. Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, and I can’t wait for all the great fall things that we do in Texas, even when it’s 98 degrees outside. These hot, summer runs take every single trick in the book to fight boredom and keep pushing in the heat. Here’s a few strategies I’ve employed over the last couple of years.
Beating Boredom On Long Runs
Marathon and ultramarathon training involve a whole lot of miles, and a whole lot of long runs. Some runners absolutely love long runs, and generally I fall into that camp. Some runs, though, the miles just seem to click by at the speed of a drunken sloth. For those long runs that feel like they might never end, here’s a few ways to fight boredom.
I am a huge fan of listening to podcasts on long runs. If you seem to get bored even with a good podcast going, it can be helpful to have a few different genre’s to shuffle between. Some runs, listening to a podcast about running can be motivating, inspiring, and educational, which can help the miles feel more energized. But other runs, you may not be in the mood to hear about running while you’re running. For these runs, listening to more a story type podcast can be a little more entertaining. I like having a mix of humorous podcasts, investigative journalism, and wild stories to pick between. Ghost stories and murder just have a way of making 5 miles feel like 2 for me.
If listening to someone talk isn’t helping the miles move by any faster, listening to some music might do the trick. For the longest of runs, I tend to start out listening to podcasts, and then switch over to music towards the end when I need a little more of a boost. Having a mix where you don’t know what’s coming next can help keep things interesting and less monotonous. I recommend having a couple of Spotify or Pandora stations that you can choose from depending on your mood, and how much encouragement you might need.
There are few things that can make the miles just fly by like having a little company for all or part of your run. Most of my favorite runs have been shared by friends and family. Running buddies are the absolute best, because they bring a sense of camaraderie, and runners often find that they struggle less to push themselves when in the company of other runners.
If you can’t convince someone to join you for a long run, though, you can still find ways to make double digit runs feel more interesting than just left foot, right foot repeated 60,000 times. Throwing in a few pick-ups or programming a full on workout can help break up the long miles. I don’t generally recommend that runners push the pace too much during long runs, unless they are very seasoned, but adding in a 30 second pick up every 10 minutes or mile can give runners something to focus on, making the run feel more segmented.
Now, this is a method that I use when nothing else seems to be working. I distract myself from the hours of running by focusing on looking for something specific during my run. I might decide to look for a runner in an American flag pair of shorts, or a certain kind of dog, or wildlife on the trails. It’s a nice way to force my brain to focus on something that isn’t running related, and helps me to remember to look around and enjoy the scenery of my long run.
If you have a tried and true method for helping the miles to feel more interesting on those difficult, low motivation days, I’d love to hear it!
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 73
Total Workouts: 4
50 Mile Training, Week 14
How the Runs Felt
Once again, the week started out in a pretty big funk. My brother in law was in town for the weekend, which was wonderful and fun, but also meant less sleep than I typically get. Sunday I just felt like I had no energy, my knee was not feeling good, and all I wanted to do was not be hot. I had planned on running 13 miles, but called it good after 10. I almost never do this, but this week, I figured I just wanted to listen to my body. Tuesday, I was back at it and ready for some hills before work. I had half a day off, and really enjoyed not having to rush off to work after my run.
Wednesday, I broke up my run around my work schedule, and felt good during both runs. Then Thursday kicked me butt harder than any workout I’ve had in a long time. My cousin was kind enough to meet me, after some mild peer pressure. We ran 7 sets of 5 min hard effort at about a 7:40 pace, with 1 min of recovery. By the time the 5th set came around, my legs felt heavier than a Volkswagon. We finished out the run, but man it was not easy. I was super wiped out for the rest of the day. Friday’s run was all on roads to help give my poor legs a chance to recover.
Saturday I ran just over 20 miles, knowing I had that short relay race in the evening. I felt pretty great throughout the run, but the heat did make things difficult towards the end. I used the run to test out eating real food as fuel, since I know this is something that I’ll need to do during my 50 mile race. I broke out half a PB&J sandwich at mile 14, and was really happy that it stayed down without an issue. The relay race was on a short loop that was 100% deep sand. Trying to run fast on sand was a new challenge, but it was worth the firey lungs to see some friends for a couple of hours.
How the WODs Felt
My legs really suffered this week! I was somewhat short on time after a doctor appointment on Monday, so I opted for a home workout, which felt great. Wednesday’s back squats were the first set of squats I’ve done since my 100 mile week, and they really struggled with a much lighter weight than previous workouts. 15 minutes of “Kelly” was no picnic, either if I’m being honest. After Thursday’s soul sucking workout, I knew I needed something short and upper body focused, and that I was just not in the mood to hang out in a gym. I was so damn exhausted, I’m surprised that I even convinced myself to do any strength work.
By Friday, I was feeling better, and was ready for a solid workout. As much as I love incorporating barbell work into my workouts, I was just not in the mood to lift anything super heavy this week. I feel like I’m still recovering from running 100 miles. Focusing on dumbbell and barbell movements this week really helped keep me working out without hating life.
What I’ve Been Listening To
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve really loved listening to podcasts that were inspiring and got me motivated to hit the roads and trails. This week, I really just wanted to be entertained and somewhat distracted from how taxing my workouts were. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts about ghosts, hauntings, murder, and the paranormal. I mean, it is spooky season after all! Well, almost. I caught up on some old “And That’s Why We Drink” episodes about possessed dolls. I found a new podcast called “Supernatural” that probably doesn’t need much explanation, but has been really interesting. I’ve also been catching episodes of The Piketown Massacre and Morally Indefensible.
What Went Well
My knee seems to be healing well this week, and I’m feeling spurts of motivation to push harder this week. I did stay on top of my hydration and fueling pretty well this week.
What Went Shitty
Well, I think it probably goes without needing any more saying, but my body is still recovering, and I’m not having the easiest time being patient. My legs were seriously fatigued after Thursday, and while they recovered well, I’m having a hard time easing back into things. I’m really excited about my upcoming races, and I think I’m just getting impatient.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week will be one of my biggest pushes since my 100 mile week. I plan on really prioritizing fueling, hydration, and rest to help make sure my body is ready.