Run The One You’re With

Saucony-Strong Films- Dorothy Beal

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It is not uncommon for new runners as well as veterans to fear the long run. Anxiety of whether or not one can finish the distance can remain whether it is the first time you are running long or the 100th time. Long, being relative to the individual, may mean you worry about an 8 mile run or it may mean the mental stress is coming from those important 20 milers leading up to a marathon.

In order to keep fear at bay and enjoy distances up to 20 miles and beyond I’ve started to run the one I’m with. What I mean by this is that I run the mile I am in and focus only on that mile. It scares my mind if I am on mile 2 of a 20 mile run and think about the 18 more I have to go. If I focus on finishing mile 2 strong and getting to mile 3 then I am working on manageable distances that my mind can wrap itself around.

Often during long runs one can experience a multitude of emotions as well as a range of how the body feels. One mile you are cruising along thinking about how fit you are and 10 minutes later your legs feel like they are filled with lead weights and you question if finishing this run is going to be realistic. Focusing on the mile you are in, whether you are feeling good or feeling bad, allows you to get through it and on to the next one. One hard mile doesn’t mean that they will all be hard. One good mile doesn’t mean they will all be good.

For some, a mile might even seem like an impossible distance to push through. I break down the mile into quarters. When you are at .25 of a mile you are only .25 away from being half way finished. At the half way mark you are only .25 away from being 75 percent finished. Once 75 percent of the way through a mile you can certainly push through another .25. When that mile is over ask yourself if you have a little bit more. The answer will most likely be yes. Begin the mile process over again if need be. Tell yourself I only have to do this for .25 more and then asses how you feel.

As a veteran of 20 marathons I can not tell you how many times I have had to break down long runs of 20 miles into quarters of a mile just to finish.

Focus on the moment, mile by mile, and you will find that the long run isn’t as hard mentally as you once thought.

Long runs are part fitness, part heart. Make your mind run your body; you are in control of your running destiny.

Dorothy Beal
Guest Contributor

Dorothy Beal

Dorothy is fueled by a strong desire to be inspired one mile at a time. Marathoner x26, mommy of 3, published writer, running coach and lover of all things running.

Twitter @MilePostsDorothy's Website

7 Responses to “Run The One You’re With”

  1. Lhester says:

    Hi D Just wanted to drop by and wish you best of luck in your maorahtn! You’ve trained well, you’re prepared so go run your heart out! Oh, and don’t forget to have a little fun while you’re out there too =)

  2. [...] we said our good-byes I remembered a post I had written recently for Saucony. My posts always help ME most. I NEED to be reminded of my own words and [...]

    • Azi says:

      I would love to, but it’s hard to run in the city. If I lived closer to Central Park, I’d run there all of the time, but it’s just far enguoh away that I’ve only gone once. I don’t know how I feel about training for another half inside the gym, on the treadmill, but we’ll see. However, if I was actually training, I’m sure I’d make it to the park much more often.I think I’ll sign up for one next year maybe next Sept./Oct.? That way I can train in the Spring & Summer, not the Winter. My friend Corey, who I ran with in Nashville, and I have a grand plan to do a half a year all over the country in cities we’ve never been to. Depending on time/money, perhaps we’ll actually do it!

  3. Emma Green says:

    Thanks for this post! I used very similar strategy when I did cross country (even though the distances aren’t nearly as long as the races you have done!) and it always helped me so much. When thinking about the entire length of the workout, I would feel like I couldn’t make it, but by splitting it up into “bite sized” chunks, I always found that I could give a little more after each smaller increment!

    • Ingrid says:

      Yay! I am running the Columbus Half on Sunday! GOOD LUCK!! It’s my hoowmten so WELCOME! I love what you are wearing I’ll try to keep an eye out for you. It looks perfect I heard it is supposed to get warm. Safe travels and have fun.

  4. marvin santiago says:

    I believe in you. It’s important for a runner not to loose focus on every run. Distance doesn’t matter at all because you think only for a mile and to finish each mile at a time helps you finish the race in no time. Great advice from a veteran runner…

  5. Jen B. says:

    Haha, Dorothy, I love the title and the concept (also, love the song I’m thinking you got the idea from, oldie but goodie!) I do the same thing. Every workout or run longer than 8 miles, I only think of the mile I’m in, or the rep I’m currently on. And I always tell myself I can quit at any time, but make this one a good one. I almost always exceed my expectations that way! Off to do a long run now! I’ll be singing that song for sure. ;)

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