How to Make a Long Run Shorter

Okay, I’ll admit the title here may be a little confusing. Especially since I’m writing about my first run longer than 13.1 miles since the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in April.

There are several ways to break up the monotony of a long run. I’ve tried tips such as run a new route, or mentally break it into chunks (5k, 10k, and so on). I also make water stops at my car or refuel at a park along my route. No matter what I’ve tried, though, a training run over 12 miles for me can get boring.

Saturday, I stumbled onto something new, and it made a huge difference.

It was a rainy morning, so I wasn’t looking forward to a 14 mile soaker, but I knew I’d have a little company. I’ve been running with a local group on Saturday mornings, and this has helped the miles go faster. I started earlier to knock out a few miles and have time to refuel before meeting the group.

The next leg of my run was with two other runners in the group. One only needed to run five and the other was up for “whatever.” The three of us ran five miles together, and then stopped back at the meeting place. I refueled again. The “whatever” distance runner asked me how much I still had left – about four miles – so she headed out with me to finish. She runs at a slightly faster pace than I do, so I used this as my negative split training.

By the time I finished my 3rd leg of the run, I had done about 5 miles at a warm up pace, another five at a steady conversational pace, and 4 at catch-my-breath pace. Even though I had been running about 2 1/2 hours, it sure didn’t feel like it. My legs sure felt it though, and reminded me the rest of the day and all the next.

After two years of training and completing long runs on my own, it sure was nice to have some company and different ways to make it seem shorter.

What tips do you have for making a long run feel shorter?