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 dealing with boredom on long runs
phaedrus


Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 37

dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:52 am 

How do you deal with boredom during your long runs? Or do you not get bored at all? Do most people listen to music, or run with a friend, or something like that? When I don't have something distracting me, my long runs seems to last extra-long and I don't run as fast. If I have something important to think about, it helps a little bit. I usually don't like to run with music because I can't hear people and cars around me.

OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:08 am 

Actually, unless I'm on a treadmill or am running more than 2 hours, boredom's almost never a problem for me, and I do all of my runs alone. I just fall into that mental neutral zone, I guess. At least once it helped me to just stumble upon a solution to a problem at work that hadn't occurred to any of us before. I actually treasure that time alone, away from distractions. On the other hand, treadmill runs of more than 60 seconds tend to bore me to death. As a result, I almost always end up running faster than I probably should have just in order to get it over with as quickly as possible, which tends to mess up my schedule for the rest of the week because the treadmill workout was supposed to have been an easy day. 20-milers can be pretty mind numbing during the final 5 miles, too. I've never done one with a group, but I imagine that would help. I don't like the idea of running to music either...I think it would detract from the solitude for me. I'm always determined not to let anyone listening to music beat me in a race, since I figure that - because they're listening to music - they can't be "real" runners!

Rob


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:54 am 

I agree, treadmill running is the absolute worst. Didn't somebody call it the "dreadmill?" One mile on the treadmill feels as long as five outdoors.

Running with a group does seem to help too, even if you're not talking much. But like you, I do virtually all of my training runs alone.


lee


Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 1

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 11:21 am 

Pick a Target: One of my running buddies with Team & Training gave me an interesting tip that seems to help on those long runs outside. When you encounter someone else on the trail ahead, imagine you are in a race with them and that you have to beat them to the finish line. Once you pass them you can slow down or continue at an easier pace. If you do this with each person you encounter, you will improve your speed.

If there's no one on the trail, you can do this with landmarks as well. Pick a tree or street up ahead and imagine it is the finish line and that you've got to kick it in.

I find that this helps me pass the time better. It is more like a game or race and less like exercise ;-)
--Lee


marathoner443


Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 4

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:31 pm 

Maybe I'm just easily entertained, or maybe I've gotten good at mind games, but I don't seem to get bored on long runs. I think over papers I have to write for school, calculate the percentage of the run I have left or my weekly/monthly/yearly mileage as of the end of that run, plan future races, or just zone out. Even treadmill runs don't bother me-I like to mix up the pace, and just people-watching in the gym is pretty entertaining. :-)

And I would never listen to music on the run, for safety reasons when I'm outside and just because it doesn't appeal to me. I like the idea of being able to entertain myself, of having that time alone, of listening to my body and all that good stuff.

~Bethany


firechik

colorado
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 3

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:11 am 

If I am running outside, I don't have a problem. I just enjoy the sun, and relax.
If I have to run on a treadmill, I get bored really easy. Recently I have started breaking my runs down into little sections, it seems to make the time go faster. If I can find something interesting on TV the time goes a lot faster.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:03 am 

firechik wrote:
If I can find something interesting on TV the time goes a lot faster.

There are lots of TVs in the gym I used to go to, but I could never watch them while on the treadmill. I would always start drifting to one side, then suddenly step on the deck instead of the belt, and go flying off while everyone else tried not to laught at me. I must be a total klutz. :-)


DiaperMan


Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 2

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:54 am 

Nah, I never get bored while running outside. Even on 20 milers. I love my long run time, its my own personal "mental recharge" time.

Treadmills are another story. Without an MP3 player, it is TORTURE. A TV helps too. But it is still torturous. I can't run more than 6 or 7 miles at a time on the 'mill. I mean, I have out of necessity, but it is just terrible.


firechik

colorado
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 3

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:47 pm 

I am a big klutz, You should see the list of things I have broken. Somehow I can manage to watch tv and run. But the TV has to be straigt in front of me or I bump into the side rails. The other day I started watching some movie and had gone two miles further that I planned before I even realized it.

Dancinghomer


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 1

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:43 am 

I usually run on trails for long runs, so there's always something different to look at. The change of terrain helps the boredom as well. Sometimes I'll meet with a friend for long runs, and we'll talk during them.

I say try trails! They are awesome!


sfird
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Long Island, NY
Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 80

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 8:08 am 

I don't get bored running outside. I run most of my runs alone although this year I had a training partner on most of my long runs. On my long runs I find that I zone out. Sometimes when I zone back in I actually don't remember running the past mile or two. I never zone out on the treadmill and thus the runs feel much longer. I just got a mini Ipod which should help on the treadmill.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

zoning out Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:28 am 

I hear about the long run zone out. I once got so out of it during a run that I stopped paying attention to where I was going. I'd run about a mile in the wrong direction before I realized it. It wasn't quite as bad as getting lost while running, but I felt pretty stupid about it.

Jim2

Pasadena, MD
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 5

I Could Be Marathoner443. Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 7:16 pm 

Bethany's post said exactly what I would have said about myself. The trick is to keep your mind occupied by applying it to useful tasks while running. Serious runners find running-related ways to do that most of the time and enjoy doing it. Less serious runners, who I refer to as "recreational runners", have to be entertained or distracted in order to enjoy a run. If you are a serious runner, how do you expect to make optimum progress as a runner if you are bored by it and have to be entertained or need a diversion just to do it?

For serious runners:

1. Most important is to pay attention to your run and try to use each and every run to either learn something or to contribute to your personal running data base. That is most especially important in every race that you run! Monitor how your body is responding. Track your pace. Play mental games with yourself that are run related.....and challenging. Experiment with pace vs. your body's reactions. Since I am an engineer, I do a lot of run related arithmetic and statistical stuff while running.

2. Use your runs to do other mentally challenging tasks that rae not directly related to the specific run. Bethany said that she sometimes thinks over school related tasks....an excellent use of the significant chunk of time that running carves from her very busy week. When I was a prolific participant on both the RWOL and Merv forums, I used to think out and compose posts while running. A favorite exercise of mine was to identify a couple of posts to which I wanted to respond before running, then think out my replies....even mentally write them....while running.

The atmosphere and scenery in which you are running can contribute to the enjoyment of running. But for serious runners that should be secondary to the more important objective and focus....improving as a runner.

Like Bethany, running on a treadmill doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I enjoy it. As an enginner, I like the structure, organization and control that I get from a treadmill. It permits me precise control over my runs and the analysis of them. Yes, it is more necessary to find ways to offset the greater boredom factor that comes with treadmill running. I have a few that I use. When in a fitness center, I often devise a mentally challenging treadmill workout....which can be an "easy" run, speedwork, hill workout, or threshold effort, to keep my mind occupied. Like Bethany, I also enjoy the surrounding "scenery" while running....although I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that we enjoy different scenery. ;-) When I run on my treadmill at home, I have a TV in front of it and I pick a movie to watch while running....I'm a huge fan of old classics and can usually schedule a run when either American Movie Classics, Turner Clessic Movies or Bravo has something that I enjoy watching. I once ran on my home 'mill while watching the Boston Marathon live. I started my run when the Boston gun went off and raced the front runners to the finish....and I won! I finsihed 2 minutes ahead of the Kenyan who won Boston that year.....except that I ran 13.11 miles and he ran 26.22 miles. :-) The last half hour really did become a challenging effort to race the Kenyan to the end of my half mary vs his marathon.

Another treadmill experience that I enjoyed was while on a 2-week business trip in September, 1989 to Saudi Arabia while marathon training. I had a long run of 22 miles scheduled for midway through the trip. I couldn't do it, as well as most other runs during those two weeks, outside for two reasons.... the daytime temps in Saudi at that time of the year reached 120 degrees and running outdoors on the streets of Riyadh in shorts is frowned on. (I did do short runs on the streets of Riyadh on other trips while wearing a running suit in cooler weather.) Fortunately, the hotel where I was staying had a fitness facility that was equipped with several treadmills. So, I ran my 22 miler on a mill. Now, everything in Saudi Arabia is gender segregated. So, the fitness center was all male....which eliminated the "scenery" distraction....and there was no TV, which is very limited and restricted there anyway. Fortunately, the row of treadmills faced a wall of mirrors. So, I ran 22 miles, as well as several other runs during the 2 week period, just watching myself run! Actually, it was great. In the almost 25,000 miles that I have logged running, those two weeks were the only opportunity I have had to really analyze my running form and stride.

BTW, several Saudis who were there primarily for iron pumping noticed that I kept running....and running....and running....and stopped by my 'mill periodically during my 3-hour 22-miler to check my pace (about 8:15), time and distance and later asked me what I was doing and why. They were impressed when I told them that, as an old man of 50, I was training for a marathon because none of them knew any Saudis who had ever run a marathon.

There are many, many ways to prevent running....including long runs....from being boring. Each individual has to find what works best for him/her. However, I have never understood the need to be entertained or distracted while running. And I suspect that neither has Bethany. ;-)


ready*to*run


Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 6

Re: dealing with boredom on long runs Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 7:01 am 

I have adult ADD - so doing the same thing for any length of time is difficult for me!!! I love to run - but I do get bored from time to time. When I first started running, I got bored after 60 seconds! I just completed the C25K plan this week, and I have found myself slipping into some kind of zone when I run these days. I used to look at my watch at least every minute, but large chunks of time have been going by lately without me even thinking about it.

Recently, I realized that I was mostly looking down at the path right ahead of me when I ran. I started trying to look around more when I ran and actually enjoy some of the scenery. Sounds simple - but it has helped a lot! I have also tried running a little while with the music on, and then turning it off for a while. Somehow, that helps break up the monotony. I also try counting my steps up to 100 and then starting over. I do this whenever I feel like I'm "dragging" or starting to slow down. For some reason, the counting makes me speed up a little. Sometimes when I run past buildings I try to count how many windows it has or how many trees are in someone's yard. I find little things to entertain myself from time to time and it keeps me running!


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