Sunday, February 08, 2009

My Distance Running Trick

Some days I really dread going out and getting my runs in. Once I get out and start moving, I'm always glad I follow through with it. This week, I realized that I have a little trick that I use (subconsciously) to break up my long runs into manageable distances. I might as well share it. I know, I know... you're welcome.

The Trick
I typically take whatever the mileage is and divide it by two. Then, I simply focus on that number during my run. This is very easy to do, and it makes an epic run seem much smaller and more enjoyable. It's easiest to appreciate this algorithm on the "out and back" runs. So on a 6 mile out and back run, I feel like I'm almost done with my run when I hit the 2 mile marker. I know that once I get to 3 miles I simply have to turn around and go back. It's that easy.

The beauty is that this doesn't just work on the out and backs either, I use this technique on my "city tour" runs too. Tonight I was scheduled for a 16 mile run. Rather than focusing on the number 16 and counting up mile by mile, I cut it into two small legs. One leg was going to a 9 mile leg (think 4.5), and the other half of my run was a 7 mile leg (think 3.5). Doing this makes it much easier for me to stay motivated during my run. Breaking it up into these small manageable numbers lets me trick myself into thinking such distances are "easy".

My first leg involved an out and back from the YMCA, almost to Granville, then turned around and come back. The second leg was a big 7 mile loop around west Newark. For me, it made my run very simple, I ran 4.5 miles toward Granville, and then turned around and headed back to the car. Once I got to the car, I resupplied and set a new goal of 3.5 miles, then took off running again with the 3.5 number in my head. When I got to the 3.5 mile marker (which was actually 12.5 miles at this point), I simply focused on shuffling my feet back to the car (which was (pause for calculation...) 3.5 miles away).

So there you have it, that's my trick. The next time you dread doing any run, just cut it in half and head out the door. Hope this helps somebody; it works very well for me.


Unknown said...

that is a great trick that I've been using for a little while. The thing is, you gotta do it. You have to break it down beforehand.

I'm thinking about another run at Blackhand Gorge tomorrow.
Do you know what the trails are like out there?

pathfinder said...


I saw your blog from Maine runner...Jamie. I like that little trick of yours, I think I will try it. In the past I have used something a bit similar, I would break down the last part of my race into a smaller 3 miles left and such.

Running 2 Mohican said...

Careful, you are thinkinh 100 milers now.