Long Run Mentality

I’m starting my half marathon training next week (following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan) and today I set appointments on my calendar for all the runs. Part of my preparation is getting myself back into the long run mentality. Since my last half marathon in April my focus has been running shorter distances much faster and that’s just not going to work for long runs. I’ve been trying to remember how I ever ran more than six miles at a time, and this is what I’ve come up with:

  • Do not think about how many miles in total I plan to go. When thoughts like that creep in, banish them immediately.
  • Instead, stay in the moment, and focus on completing the mile I’m in.
  • Focus on my breathing. Completely inhale and exhale and make sure each breath is even.
  • Check in on my body; make sure each part is relaxed.
  • Make sure my feet are hitting the pavement in the same way each time.
  • Look around and enjoy my surroundings; try to find something interesting about each thing I pass.
  • Listen to my music playing and enjoy how it sounds. If I’m struggling, try to make it to the next song, then try to make it to the next one.
  • When it feels hard early remind myself that I often don’t feel warmed up until I’ve completed one or two miles.
  • If it continues to feel hard, focus on a spot somewhere in front of me and focus on reaching it. Then find a new spot. And so on.
  • I put these ideas into action tonight during a run at Tower Grove Park.


    This is the quality of my photography while I’m running.

    I made an effort not to start out as fast as I’m able to run; instead I was aiming for a 9-10 minute mile. I settled in around 9:30, which felt comfortable. I ended up going all around and outside Tower Grove Park for a total of 4.75 miles in 45 minutes. The run felt challenging but I was fairly relaxed, and happy!


    So per usual, I’ve had a good run so I feel great about running and am ready to conquer the world. I’m prepared to refer back to this post when it gets challenging and I can no longer remember how long runs are possible. If training for half marathons was easy, everyone would do it. And that’s exactly why I love it.


    5 responses to “Long Run Mentality

    1. Your list is great! I also like the pictures. Another beautiful park in St. Louis!

    2. This is really great advice for a long run. I, too, am training for a half marathon and am in the heart of my weekend long runs. I love the idea of just finishing the mile you are in.

    3. Pingback: Return to Running – Stages 12 & 13 | The Rockin' Runner

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