Whether you consider a “long” run 1 mile, a 5K or something in the double-digits, long runs have a special place in the hearts of runners everywhere. Meditative in nature and often done on the weekend, the distance likely depends on what you’re training for. Still, the more time you spend on the road (or the trail or tread), the more mundane these miles may become.
Not to worry: We connected with top experts for their feedback on how to make a long run a little more enjoyable.
LISTEN TO AN AUDIOBOOK OR PODCAST
An easy way to pass the time while on your feet? Tune into a good story. “Whether it’s for pleasure or self-development, there’s so much room to devour material and lose yourself in a run,” says Bethann Wittig, an RRCA-certified run coach and the fitness and personal training coordinator at Rutgers University. “You may even find that you’re running longer than you planned just to get to the end of an episode.”
If you are in the midst of marathon or half-marathon training, you are going to have a lot of long runs on deck. “By inviting friends to run part of your long run with you or meeting up with a group for portions of that run, you’ll stay more motivated and feel less alone,” says Alexandra Weissner, co-founder bRUNch Running and a run coach. “The high-fives help, too.”
Aside from the feel-good benefits, meeting up with friends or organized run crews has performance perks, too. People who exercised with buddies they thought were in better shape boosted their workout time and intensity by an impressive 200%, according to an October 2012 study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
CRANK UP THE TUNES
There’s nothing that makes a good run great like a stellar playlist. While it may not necessarily make you focus on the task at hand, music can lead to an increase in enjoyment, according to Brunel University research. In its research, runners liked hitting the track 28% more when listening to Pharrell versus tackling their miles sans beats.
PLAY WITH YOUR PACE
There are a few schools of thought on how to address pace on your long runs. For those who view it as a relaxed, meditative experience, it’s nice to just get out there, relax with your pace, and see where the wind takes you. However, picking things up every once in a while can make the time fly by. “Miles go by faster when you split them up into groups,” says Wittig. “It doesn’t have to be all-out sprints. Maybe you’re just splitting your run into thirds: For the first third you’re going a specific pace, second-third is a little faster, and the final third is your fastest pace.”
We shared a few ideas, and now we’d love to know your secrets to getting through those long runs!