Today's post is inspired by today's Dailymile #Dailymission
#DailyMission :Do you have a secret for turning a boring long run into something at least a little more fun?
First off I have to say many of the things I am going to list are things I do during ANY run to keep myself occupied, not just on long runs. And secondly, you may laugh at some of these, or think that I am crazy but it works for me and you never know, it may work for you too....
- Bring a friend along...DUH! One of the easiest ways to beat boredom in any run, especially long runs is to run WITH someone.... even if they only run part of the run with you, even if you don't talk at all....having someone there can really help! FYI having a friend there makes people watching and making fun of things you see, that much better! Laugh together! You could also pretend to be criminals running from the cops together, or spies chasing someone, just saying that you have an imagination and you should use it.
- Make a kick ass playlist...music is a great motivator and the right tunes can keep you going even when things get boring or tough. Randomly scatter in some crazy upbeat songs, mix in some oldies (we all have them stashed away, you we know you know all of the words!), play songs you know you can get lost in, sing all the words and forget about the miles passing you by.
- Sing & Dance to said 'kick ass playlist' : The amount of times I have gotten busted jamming to tunes while running is astronomically high. Every time I get caught I laugh too, because I am not embarrassed, I may not be the best dancer, but when I dance when I run I am pretty sure I look like I am having a seizure. That is my public duty, to make people laugh when they see it. Brighten someones day who see's me, they'll brag to their friends about it. My playlist making skills have gotten very good, and I love putting songs on there I know all the words to, usually I'll sing and beebopp in my head, but it eventually starts coming out of my mouth, or at least humming the tune. Name the following songs, they're awesome throwbacks to run to, because we all know you know the words and you'll forget all about the fact that your leg is cramping up.
- "What you wanna ball with the kid Watch your step you might fall Trying to do what I did Mama-unh mama-unh mama come closer In the middle of the club with the rub-a-dub, unh No love for the haters, the haters See me on the fifty yard line with the Raiders Mad cause I got floor seats at the Lakers Met Ali he told me I'm the greatest I got the fever for the flavor of a crowd pleaser"
- Night Creatures Call And The Dead Start To Walk In Their Masquerade There's No Escapin' The Jaws Of The Alien This Time (They're Open Wide) This Is The End Of Your Life
- Take me home tonight I don't want to let you go 'til you see the light Take me home tonight Listen, honey, just like Ronnie sang Be my little baby, oh, ho, oh
- You're playing so cool Obeying every rule Deep way down in your heart You're burning yearning for Somebody to tell you That life ain't passing you by I'm trying to tell you It will if you don't even try You'll get by if you'd only Cut loose, footloose
- Chase cars: yes, I am serious. I run in the city a lot more now than I ever used to. So I will see cars at stoplights, I'll make a goal to beat them to a few lights down. They have to stop at all the lights or get stuck behind other cars so sometimes you can actually beat them. Or there have been times I changed my route to follow a car (this is on main roads, not back roads or anything), make them think I am following them, then back off and turn around...messing with people can be quite fun. Don't do this unless you know the roads though, don't get yourself lost or put yourself in a bad situation.
- People Watch: I LOVE LOVE LOVE people watching. If I could sit in the airport or at the mall and people watch for hours I would. Some of the things people wear, and some of the things I see people doing are just beyond me. Pay attention to your surroundings when you run. Notice the houses that still have Holiday Decorations out from a few months ago, I totally saw a house with Halloween decorations the other day!! Wacth the people on the streets, the crazy outfits you will see or the random people talking to themselves. When you are running on main roads, running or standing at a light take a moment to look at the people in the cars around you, I make a point to catch people rocking out in their cars, Jimi Hendrix wannabees with their air guitars, or the steering wheel drummers trying to be Ringo Star or Mick Fleetwood.
- Plan a fun route: the route for your run can make all of the difference, sometimes being in the middle of nowhere can be nice, but when you are going to be out there for a while, seeing people and having things to look at can help. I love running through some of the artsy or busier districts in the city, plenty to look at, people to watch, and also, more opportunities for water fill ups or potty breaks (necessary things on long runs). I also have learned to love looped runs. Break a long run into a few smaller loops, maybe do a few different loops, or just do one loop a few times. I found that breaking my 20's into a 10 mile loop twice was a great way to break things up, and the 2nd loop always felt so much shorter than the first!
- Count things: Count the number of red cars you see, or the number of dog walkers you pass, count anything, helps pass the time. For the record, I count my steps when I am going up a steep hill, it takes your mind off of the struggle and helps you get to the top faster! It's like counting sheep to fall asleep, pick something to count to help you finish the run.
- Play with your speed: Altering your pace every once in a while is great to help make things more interesting and it will actually help your muscles too. On your long runs you don't need to make it anything drastic like mile intervals or something of the sort, but switching gears every once in a while can be helpful. Even if it's every few miles, pick it up for a minute or so or a few street blocks, push it a little more and give your legs a chance to stretch out then settle back into your planned long run pace. Changing things up a bit can help keep your mind and your legs fresh.
- Plan something in your head: Most people do their long runs on Saturday's or Sunday's because it's naturally when they have more time to be out on the roads for a few hours. I like doing mine on Sunday for a better reason, that gives me a few hours to plan my week out, map my schedule in my head, plan my to-do list, and get ready for the hectic week to come. Sometimes I lose myself in miles by even planning out what I will write for my run-recap when I get back.
- Visualize your big race day: When I am finding it difficult to get in the groove, I flip through songs until I find a good upbeat power song that I love, and then I visualize myself crossing the finish line of the race I am training for. For example, in the fall I was training for the Marshall University Marathon that finishes on the goal line of the football stadium(They pass you a football with about 20 yards to go so you can cross finish line/goal line with the ball..TOUCHDOWN!!!). During my longer runs, I kept visualizing my touchdown dance when I finished. Would I do a 'Moss moon' or a 'Lambeau leap', or perhaps Stevie Johnson's notable TD dance mocking Plaxico Buris, One of OchoCinco's many celebrations, or I could stash a sharpie in my Kinvara and autograph something like T.O.....the possibilities were endless. But it proved to be a great way to distract me during runs, I was visualizing the finish line, and every emotion that goes along with it, very powerful way to motivate yourself. (for the record, when I did cross the finish line in November, I was so overwhelmed with my huge PR and BQ that I mentally blanked and forgot the dance I was going to do, and simply spiked the football and yelled "hell yeah", not the most creative, but damn it felt good! Unfortunately you can't see the spike or hear me yell, but watching this always makes me smile, I use it as motivation to keep getting better...)