During the later part of my long runs, I often feel the grind of the miles. My legs have pounded their way through the half point, and now, all they want is for me to be done with yet another long run.
As one would expect, mentally, this is the toughest part. The near constant signals from my body to my mind urging me to slow down.
The question is – do I give in to the pain or do I push through it?
My age old approach is to push through it. Show the mental toughness that it takes by dragging my body along to the finish line. We all respect and honor this kind of toughness. Right?
Lately, I have been adopting a different approach. By playing some mental games, I shift my way of thinking during the latter half of these runs.
Here’s how I do it. Once I hit the half way point, I start listening for my Garmin auto lap to chime at each mile split. And, on the chime, instead of continuing to slug along at the same pace, I throw in a 30 second surge. I am not talking about an all out sprint here. Let’s not go crazy. This is a long run after all.
I am suggesting more of a 30 second stride. Think along the lines of a prerace strider. Any pace that raises my running cadence above my current running pace seems to not only work but after the surge, returning to my previous pace now feels easier.
Using this strategy over my last few long runs, I have found that those late miles don’t feel nearly hard. Another side effect, I am running faster than I was prior to using this strategy.
Try it, and see how it works for you. Running can be 90% mental and 10% physical. The less I let my mind think about my fatigue, the better off that I am.
The Cool Down Runner