Sometimes it depends on what your first race was. Then there’s a blocker and you can’t move up a distance.
If your training for a 10km you realise you have to run for about an hour and that’s about as far as you go in your training. Following the race, you still never get past that hour mark.
We can get stuck at the distances that are well known to us and we feel comfortable at. Just like life. Stepping up into the new position at work. Taking on a little more can be daunting, so we stay where we’re comfortable.
You could be a parkrun regular smashing it out every week but the step up to a 10km seems scary.
I definitely have it with marathons. I pacify myself with halfs. They’re just enough that I have to stretch myself and will be tough, buts it’s only 50% of that intimidating 26.2 miles.
In training runs, an hour is a manageable amount of time. It’s a nice round figure and by the end, you’re going to feel pretty tired and that you’ve had a good run out.
This is one of my issues (of which there seems to be many). Rolling past the 1 hour mark on my runs. It seems like I’m pre-programmed to find/do looped routes that always come in a few minutes either side of an hour.
So what can be done……
Run with others
I went running with a friend of my mine on a recent Sunday morning around Clapham Common. He had a sticking point. His loop of the Common would take him back towards his house and he would tend to run only one lap instead of heading around again. I was his accountability to do that second lap. Having told me his intention to run 10km/6 miles, there was little chance of him not completing his intended distance and there was little chance of me letting him.
Run away from home
(not that away from home)
A very simple, but definitely a good one. As above, don’t give yourself the chance to go home early. We tend to like to run in loops (or at least I do) so make sure that loop is loopy enough for you to get your required distance in. An out and back would be the perfect thing to do. Keep running away from home, turn around and come back, but it’s not always that interesting to run the same route both ways.
Reduce the chances that you’ll take shortcuts. When you pick a route, try to avoid passing any major routes where the temptation to take a turn for home could arise. See my example in the next point.
Running hills is good for building strength, however, on long runs they can tire you out and make you think about heading home. Plan your route avoiding major hills where you can. One of my common routes takes me through the centre of Wimbledon, near London. At around the 25-30 minutes mark, I have the choice of the reasonably tough hill up to Wimbledon Village or turning left and being home in 10 minutes. I obviously always take the hill, but the thought always crosses my mind.
Build the mileage
Just ‘cause you once upon a time did an Ultra, it doesn’t mean you always can. Don’t go too far too soon. It’s recommended that you increase your distance by about 10% each week. This stops you fatiguing too much but builds stamina and reduces chances of injury.
Forget about pace
You should be able to maintain a conversation when running. Going off too fast is a common problem. You wear yourself out and cut your run short. I have a tendency to do this. It could well be the issue I have.
Listen to long form
If you like to listen to music or podcasts whilst running, make sure they cover the amount of time you are going to be out on your run. This will keep you entertained during your run and stops the temptation of cutting the run short, as you have nothing to listen to or stop to fiddle with your phone or iPod and end up turning round. Also, why not try an audiobook.
In short – Plan a long enough route (but not too long) and stick to it. It shouldn’t go near your home. Avoid tempting shortcuts and tiring hills. Go easy and listen to something long and entertaining!