- - - stolen from Jocky's blog - - -
Ok, so I thought I’d write a piece on keeping the mind and body switched on during the long run. The long run can be mentally challenging to say the least. You can let the prospect of running it grind you down or you can learn to embrace it. You need to do it and is the most essential run in building for a marathon. So how do you get and keep your head in the game. Here are a few things I use to keep me running like a gazelle on my long runs. Read on if you please
You imagine a family member standing around the next corner on a walky talky. When you turn the corner they are going mad, screaming you on and relaying messages like “He’s coming…he’s coming !”. Another family member waits around the next corner. Play this game until you run out of family members.
Your family are watching you at home on a pretend TV screen. Pull a few funny faces and watch their reactions on the split screen in your head. Run into a overhanging branch of a tree and see your kids roll on the floor laughing. Play along and have fun until everyone has got bored and got up and left to go and play on their phones or sumink.
When you run past a bus stop hold your hand out and maybe you’ll get the odd Hi Five ! I have done this many a time. In around 20 times I have done this I have been left hanging about 3-4 times. Good odds. You’ll also see both yourself and the participant smile. Lovely.
Basic stuff like say ‘hello’ to people to keep you switched on. I have often shouted out “a pint of aftershave please mate !”. Ignore the ones who don’t say anything back, they are often head down and thinking of tomorrows spreadsheet at the office.
Often an embarrassment when you run past the same person twice during a run. Pre empt this by shouting “I just saw your uglier brother/sister back there!”. You’ll both chuckle like hyenas for a while.
You are running up a hill. Now instead of your head dropping and starting to swear, why not visualize it as a downhill. Mentally it’s a downhill. Look forward to and relax the shoulders, controlling the breathing steady as you go.
Running a 20 miler and this seems a tall order ? Well think, 'OK, it's only four 5-mile runs.' At the start of each 5 miles then picture yourself just starting out on a new run with fresh legs and just focus on getting to the end of that part. Mentally this is easier. I’d even treat the first five miles as a warmup and then discount them. Before you know it then your long run has become a piece of cake. *Cake*
Focus on running style *run* and keeping everything loose (except your bowels! Or this won’t be pretty ) I find sometimes my hands clench up so I will often hold a credit card between my fingers and pass it from one finger to another. Also very handy to treat yourself down the Spar shop afterwards for a tasty nutritious treat such as a pork pie, scotch egg or a tasty thick chocolate shake.
Picture that last mile of your target race. Paula Radcliffe used this tip “I just visualise myself running up The Mall. Luckily, I’ve got some very good memories …it’s one of the real bonuses of the Olympics being in London. It is very familiar ground to me.”
Ask your self things like” Whats your favourite holiday resort ? Put yourself in that happy place. I often imagine myself running in slo motion and in red shorts along a beach to the theme tune of Baywatch. Makes me smile anyway !
Play some uplifting music or equally find some truly awful music such as Demis Roussos. This will make you run faster on a tempo run ! Often have those people who won’t get out the way when you are running towards them ? Stop and do some robotic dancing. You find they’ll move very quickly after this !
Don’t keep looking at your sports watch. The miles will drag. Instead, do things like count the number of Waitrose lorries you see or birds or deer or ickle fluffy bunny rabbits. If you live in a big city then you could count the number of rubbish bins or cans of beer. When you do next look at your watch you’ll go “strike a light, that’s gone quickly !”
Do some chanting in time with your footsteps perhaps. I few faves of mine have been “time flies by when you’re a driver of a train and I ride on the footplate there and back again” or “Snooker loopy nuts are we. Me and him and them and me. We'll show you what we can do. With a load of balls and a snooker cue” More miles polished off before you even knew it, and maybe a handsome 147 break too.
Try to run whilst smiling even if you don’t quite feel like smiling. This actually works and you will actually start to feel happy and start smiling. (Ed-eh ?...scratches head)
When you are starting to get tired instead of slumping forward and starting to shuffle then lift the head up, focus on a point further down the road to keep your posture and try to smile.
Don’t moan about the weather. It’s weather, it’s what God gave us. So you’re running in torrential rain, great embrace it, try some swimming breast stroke motions to passing cars. I had a van driver give me a big smile and a thumbs up after he saw me do this. I was completely saturated but kept smiling.
Run with a buddy and chat away or equally be at one with yourself and listen to nature. Mix up your runs and find a new route. I ran the same old route for an age when I started up and got stale. I now have found some cracking little runs off the beaten trail to keep me honest.
If you have to play music then listen to Ron Goodwin’s The Trap which is the theme music to the London Marathon. Picture yourself blowing kisses to the Queen when you pass Buckingham Palace. Gangsta rap can be uplifting but pull ya pants up before you start.
Ignore the odd comment like “Run Forrest Run” or “run faster you bald tosser” Just smile, give a thumbs up and pat your arse cheeks. They won’t be at the finishing line of your target race. Forget it. They are missing out in life.
Most importantly just enjoy your running *run* I hope this has given you a few good tips to take onboard with those long runs just around the corner. If need be then print me out as a reminder that we do this because it’s fun.
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