The temperature outside is hovering around 35 degree centigrade. Humidity is above 80%. You have completed around 15 kms and it is just the half the distance you have planned to run today. As usual you had set the alarm way early in the morning and you must have snoozed it atleast 5 times before deciding it was enough. And by the time you hit the road you have kicked yourself for starting out so late. You reach the starting point, do a quick pre run stretches and start you run slowly and steadily. The first 2-3 kms of run are quite anxious as every part of leg pains and twitches. But as you finish the first 2-3 kms, you start feeling strong. The sun is out and humidity is also rising. You curse yourself for starting out late inspite of waking up at the first alarm and play the snooze-alarm snooze-alarm game.
Isnt this a story of every runner who plans a long run every sunday? Well mine is and as soon as you hit the half way mark of your run, the energy starts draining out. The road ahead looks difficult to cross. This is where the mind and the body starts fighting with each other and your mental power comes into the picture.
There are few things which have helped me in cruising through those tough second half of the long run..
1) Tables: Once the going gets tough, I start reciting tables in my mind. I start with simple ones like the tables of 2, 3, 5 and then slowly go on to the tough ones above 10. The best ones are the one belonging to prime numbers like 13, 17, 19. I dont stop till the multiples of 10, but go on till 20 or even above that. The tougher the tables are, better it helps me in diverting my mind from the pain in the legs or the body.
2) Another method is to plan your work for the next week. As this long run happens on Sunday, you have a whole week, when you can plan your work and tasks for the week. It helps a lot as when you run, you feel you are meditating and there are lot of things you remember which you wouldnt have. I think running releases some hormones in your body which really helps you in clear your thoughts.
3) One more method which is really effective is to count the number of cars of a particular brand. This keeps your mind off on the run and within no time you finish your next run target. This could be slightly tricky. If you are running on the a service road and the road is slightly away from your running route, you could strain your neck muscles. But if you are running on the same road then it shouldnt be a problem. Try this out. This could be real fun.
4) This is my favorite. When it really gets tough and you need every ounce of energy from your body and muscles, just start singing. Sing in a loud volume and sing your favorite song. Don’t worry about the tone. Dont strain your self too much in doing this or else you will lose your breath. Make sure this is done with proper inhale and exhale of air and the oxygen required by the muscles.