I don't know about you but the thought of running more than 6km is pretty painful to me!
So, increasing the distance of my weekly runs, to train for a long event, is pretty daunting until I apply this process that has worked for me a number of times.
To maintain my usual everyday fitness, I complete three sessions of 4-6 kilometres per week. This is never going to be adequate to complete any ultra distance event.
But, the fantastic thing about the human body is that we can control a lot with our head.
As with most things in life, it's your mind frame and attitude that need altering, As soon as you look at your training in a different light, it immediately becomes easier.
Before completing my first long distance run (the freedom trail), I never ran more than 10km, and even that felt strenuous to me.
I came up with the idea of doing this long run as I saw that Eddie Izzard did something similar. He was about twice my age and not a runner at all. I thought, if he can do it then so can I.
I then started thinking about these long slow distances that he ran, and that I would, and my mind shifted. My 10km runs that had been stored in my mind as long runs were now being thought of as short runs. I had to rethink training sessions all together. If I continued to think that 10km was a long way I would never complete further distances. I focussed on keeping my pace slow. Deliberately slow. I had to complete the distance. It didn't matter about the time or the pace.
Running long and slow then became easy. I wasn't racing against anybody or the clock like I previously had. It didn't matter what time I did my session in. All that mattered was distance. Even if I doubled my time over each mile, it did not matter. The focus of the session was distance. And I could achieve it.
As I am currently working towards another long distance event I have had to do this again. The more I practice this mind shift, the easier it becomes. It's incredible how the power of your mind can be so strong.
Another trick I have to keep my mind occupied when out on long runs (as I can't listen to music), is that I set myself a topic to think about. Perhaps you want to plan a trip abroad, rearrange your furniture in your bedroom, write a poem, whatever the topic you chose, I try to think about it through the whole of my run session. It's amazing the details you can consider when that focused, and time quickly passes. How often in life do you get to think about one topic for that long. There are normally so many distractions. I find this very therapeutic and very useful for life.
You can apply this mind shift to any endurance sport.
If you have any other tips or tricks please share.
Now get training!