After a rather hot long run this weekend, my negative self-talk grew with each step. By the time I finished, I felt frustrated, angry and tired. How can I make a long run a better experience when I am feeling down? Especially with summer coming, the hot temperatures will make it harder to continue and I fear that my bad feelings will surface again. I conducted some research and came up with the following:
When you run a treadmill, run where there is a mirror in front of you. Although this sounds narcissistic, looking at yourself helps improve your running form. It’s the reason you find so many mirrors at the gym–not to check out the size of your biceps, but to make sure you are curling properly. It’s the same for mirrors in front of the cardio equipment. As the weather gets too hot to run outside, try this and see if your form shows improvement.
Bring along a dog. As I’ve taken to trail running lately, I see so many runners/hikers with dogs in tow. It makes me jealous and I want to bring a dog along with me. Dogs brighten your mood and make a good workout buddy–another two reasons to add one to the family.
Sip a little caffeine before you begin your run for extra energy. How much is enough? Two 8-ounce cups of coffee 60 minutes before your next workout, or if you’re not a coffee drinker, try one energy drink. Experiment with how much caffeine and keep a journal of how you’re feeling during the workout.
Do a fast paced warm-up. We’ve all lightly jogged the track for 800 meters when warming up for a speed workout. Try adding in some pick-ups during the warm-up. You’ll actually burn more calories and shock the body.
Use a heart rate monitor. You will know how hard you are pushing your body and can adjust your running levels accordingly. You may not be pushing yourself and this device will prove it. Some of the top endurance athletes in the world use one, so why shouldn’t you?