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How do you get past the "mental block" when adding mileage to your runs?


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I've been running for about 10 months now, though it's only been in the last 3 months that I've really been able to add any sort of distance and/or speed to my runs.

I run anywhere from 15 to 25 miles a week, running 4 to 5 days a week. In terms of distances, I typically run one 3 miler, a couple of 5 -6 mile runs and then incorporate a 'longer' run at least once a week.

I've been trying to work my way up to 10 miles - but seem to hit this wall at the 8 mile mark. I've managed to run 9 miles once, and 9.25 miles once...but that was last month. Since then, I can't seem to get past 8 miles. It's not that I'm overly exhausted at this distance. I've even had the energy to do a half hour of resistance training afterwards...upper body, mind you, but still......how tired can I be if I can lift weights afterwards.

Any suggestions for getting over the 8 mile hump and pushing it to the next level?
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I've been running consistently for the past 4 years.  I've had knee surgery in the past year for a injury.  When returning to running I found I also had a block.  What I normally do is break the run  up in 1/2 miles instead of miles or even the whole run. This works well if you're running on a treadmill.  If gives you something to reach for every couple of minutes depending on how long it takes you to run it.  I just keep thinking "o.k another 1/2 mile", once that's achieved I start mentally preparing for the next 1/2 mile.  It might work if you're doing a long run to break it up in 2 mile increments.

Also, if you run all the way through, you might try stopping mid way to stretch.  Hope you find something that works.
If you are doing your long runs on the TM, I will have to think of something.  :)  But, if you are outside, my best advice is to not map out a route.  Just go out and keep running.  Make a left when you would otherwise go straight, pick a new route to get 'lost' in.  Of course, you'll want to try to remember where you've been so you can figure out the mileage when you get home, assuming you don't have a gps unit of some kind. 

The longest run I've been on was 11, so I don't know exactly how much help I am.  But that's how I always got longer.  My 11 mile was supposed to be about 9, but I went left instead of straight after around 6 miles, and then decided to keeping going to a road I thought was about a mile down.  :)  Turned out it was 2 miles down, and by the time I got home it was 11.

Another idea is to plan a time to run, instead of a distance.  What is the longest you have run, 90 minutes?  Try to beat that by so many minutes, and don't pay attention to the mileage until afterwards.

And don't forget the power of you mind.  Talk it up in your head before hand, how much fun it will be and how exhilarating to be able to post that you did it.  :)
A few possibilities:

- make sure you're getting enough water along the way

- you made need some nutrition to add distance - just heard about 'Sport Beans' on this site - they sound great (I've used gels in the past, which are ok and do the job, but not terrific)

- run with a friend or a group - if there's a running club in your area go find out if there are people running your pace/distance  - socializing helps

- add 10 minutes once - depending on your pace that may be around a mile and see how you feel

- try adding a few walk breaks - I do long runs with 10 min run/1 min walk right from the beginning of the run.  Then I only have to run to the next walk break.  Makes it more manageable.

Good luck!
I am a *huge* fan of sport beans.  :)  They are my best friends when I am running over 60 minutes.
When outside, I do like the just go and and you can't get back unless you go the distance, even if I end up walking a bit of it or I wind up and down the streets just to add a little.

I will second the advice to incorporate some walks into your running, either run 10 min and walk 1 min or walk a minute after every mile, and make sure you stay hydrated and have enough energy on long runs.

I am way goal-oriented so I make these artificial goals on the treadmill.For example, I will keep running until I hit X calories, X distance, the treadmill changes a level, etc. and sometimes vary speeds according to that. And I also use songs -- running until the song is over. It  helps me from getting bored too which is the biggest problem for me on the treadmill (plus I can just hop off anytime).
One more idea - if you can get a running partner, the time/distance can really fly by.
i actually prefer to run by myself and without music.  that's the only way i can get to that transcendent, meditative state where i don't feel anything.
thanks for all the good tips - I may try and do this outside. I think part of the problem is the monotany of the TM. They have TVs at the gym, but they are at a height where it hurts my neck to look up and watch them.

Part of the problem is that I am slow - probably running between 9:40 and 10:00 miles on these longer runs. That means that a 10 mile run is over 90 minutes....which is a long time when you don't have a distraction. I generally don't listen to music - I have this habit of wanting to run to the beat - and have to keep adjusting my speed so I can step in time. I can't ever find songs that correspond to my speed, so I end up running too fast or too slow...and mucking around with the up and down arrows on the TM instead of focusing on breathing and the run itself.

Maybe if I try this outside, I'll be distracted by the conversation (I'll recruit my hubby to run with me) or, at the very least, the scenery.
*whispers* Psst, FF, that's not slow.  ;)

I don't think I've ever run more than 6 miles on the TM.  Only way I could do more is if I rented a movie I've been dying to see, but have never seen, and I run while watching it.  Not something you can do on the TM at the gym!  Definitely get outside, you won't regret it!  :)
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