Head Games

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Run (without giving up or getting bored)

Let’s face it training for an endurance event isn’t always a bed of roses, especially long run days. We’ve put together five simple techniques that will help make the time fly by and hopefully make it a little more enjoyable. So, on those days when you’re struggling just to get out the door, try one or all of them.

You can apply these head game tips to a variety of sports including cycling and swimming.

1. Use the “next one” technique. Focus on something in the distance and tell yourself, “I’m going to keep going at this pace until I hit the next ___.” Then once you make it to that object find the next object to focus your effort. This technique can be used while running, biking and swimming. For me, this method works best while doing open water swimming. Not only can it make time seem to go by faster but it breaks up long distances into smaller, “doable” bite size chunks.

2. Rock it out! Research has shown that playing music during exercise can not only help performance, but a great playlist on your iPod can make a long run or bike ride fly by! Load up your music playlist with music that motivates you and makes you want to move. Some of my favorite music has lyrics that inspire me. Other tunes have a great beat to which I can set my running cadence.

3. Remember your “why.” Your why is that reason to be out there training or racing in the first place. My why is my USMC son and families of our fallen military.When I’m training or competing, and I feel like giving up, I remember that our military doesn’t have that option. I remember all those who have fought and died for my freedom. Thinking of them and their families give me strength and carry me home or to the finish line. Your”Why” can be a potent tool, you just need to use it.

4. Make a game out of it with intervals. As simple as it sounds, run/walk or varying pace intervals can be very beneficial in making time go by faster. For example, if you are running, you might do speed intervals alternating from fast to slow. You can set your iPhone or Garmin to count down the intervals for you. You can also do intervals in the pool by doing speed, stroke, or swim style work. And while on the bike or trainer, you can do cadence intervals. Make a game out of it, and watch the time fly!

5. Mentally scan your body during exercise, this is a great technique to use while doing any sport. Start by being aware of every muscle and joint in your body. Do you feel tightness anywhere? If so, focus on relaxing that area. How does your kick or stride feel? If something doesn’t feel right; fix it by adjusting and or relaxing. Performing body scans will help keep your mind busy while saving energy. As a bonus, this technique will help you conserve energy and avoid injury because a tight body uses more energy, making it more susceptible to injury.

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