Monday, June 30, 2008

Finding Focus

Internet! I have a problem.

The distances of my long runs are cranking up. Saturday, I ran 17 miles. (As I was running, I kept thinking I had to do 18, probably since that was one of the big distances I ran in training last year. Then I'd remember, "Oh, I only have to do 17. So no big deal." That goes to show you just how warped your brain gets in marathon training, since you think things like that while 17 miles is no big deal, 18 is somehow a more significant challenge, when actually it'd be tacking on well under 15 minutes to the time on my feet. Also, this is a long parenthentical thought.)

Physically, I felt fine. I continued to develop the world's largest blister on my left foot, but other than that and desperately needing a shower, I was in fine shape.

The problem was, after a while, the running started to feel monotonous. I lost focus, and allowed myself to take walk breaks that I honestly didn't need, just to mix things up a bit.

Does anyone have any advice on how to retain focus on a long run?


Kent said...

Sorry most of the time on the long long runs, the best I can do is to lose focus and focus on something exterior to the run like the audiobook or podcast I am listening to or a problem at work. Alternatively, finding someone new or old to talk to break the monotony. By focusing on those and letting feet do what feet do (turnover), I can escape what could be a long cycle of inner thoughts of "boy how long is this mile?". Sometimes some real work crisis / argument can be the best run partner as you get your blood boiling about what so-and-so said.

To the positive activities, you could focus on the Garmin and play pace games in your head.

RazZDoodle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RazZDoodle said...

I second what Kent said. It sounds weird, but the less I think about my long runs, the more focused I am. Lots and lots of podcasts for the long runs. I sprinkle in a few songs, but that's about it.

ya know...for what it's worth.

suzee said...

Oh, dear, I thought I was bad about that on 7s and 8s, I can't imagine what I'll be like if/when I get up to the teens.

FWIW, I find that as I increase the distances, it's always the long runs during which I feel like matter what the distance. I used to feel spacey at 3 miles, now that's just a trip over the carpet, and it's 8 miles that makes me bored.

Marcy said...

You going to do that 20 miler next week? :P

I don't know chica, I'm only on week one. I'll be asking the same question in about 3 weeks LOL

Jodie said...

Oh, that's a hard one. I hate it when the miles are so long that the whole time you're thinking that you should walk. I get really tired of my music too.

It's been a while since I've gone over 12-13, but I guess I'm mental enough that I have plenty of issues to think about during the run.

Oh, and I always find it hilarious how doing math seems impossible during the end of the runs. Try doing any type of calculation (pace, distance, whatever) I usually spend a good minute and a half after each mile marker figureing out how long that took me, what I need to run the next one in, how much time I have left, etc.

Good luck, you're doing great.

Laura said...

I know it makes me not a "purist," but I'm all about the iPod music. I always make sure to have way more music than I need for my run, so that I can change my mind spur of the moment and still not run out of songs.

Also, like Jodi, I do a lot of math on my runs. Figuring out my pace, figuring out how far I have left to go, figuring out how many minutes that will be, etc. When I finally get a Garmin I'm going to be totally bored!

Megan Hall said...

I am usually an audiobook girl on the long runs. I "read" more than I ever have time for during marathon training. It's hard to find the right books, though - it's got to be fast paced, with a good reader, and engrossing - but not too complicated because you'll space out at some point any way. Bonus if you can give yourself the discipline to ONLY listen to it during your long runs - something a little extra to look forward to, but I can never do that.

Maybe we should start a book club with recommendations for books that work to listen to while running.