Sprucing Up The Looong Run! (cont.)
* Run on trails - Talk about passing time and reducing mental stress. This is the ticket to running bliss. It's worth driving thirty minutes or more to reach a trail site. Enjoy your surroundings. Listen to the birds, streams and the rattle of rattlesnakes. Smell the flowers, pine trees and horse manure. Notice the cows as they charge you. Before you know it, the long run is over.
* Take a golf ball or tennis ball - Create your own game with these spherical objects. I like to toss the golf ball in the air and tell myself I have to reach it before two bounces. It often takes a sideways bounce and I have to cut left or right suddenly as well as have bursts of speed to reach the golf ball. This enhances my fast twitch muscles and the side to side motions strengthen my tendons. You and a friend can also toss a football or Frisbee to get the same results. All these help hand-eye coordination. Warning, do not do this in the middle of Main Street during rush hour.
* Man's best friend - I enjoy my long runs most when I have a dog. Watching a dog observe the World is humorous and enlightening. You can tell how much they love the simple freedom of being outdoors. I vicariously transfer their enjoyment to my run. If you don't have a dog, then take a neighbor's or friend's. My "nephew" is Cortez Llierandi, fellow pro Nate's dog. He gets so excited when I come over because he knows he's going for a run. I talk to him about life, girls etc. He doesn't really respond, but I know he's listening. Cortez is especially useful during the Fall in Boulder when the grasshoppers are everywhere on the trails. I have him run ahead of me and the grasshoppers are flying all over him as they get off the trail. Hence, I don't have those little guys hanging on to my legs.
* Have a destination - I oftentimes break up a long run by running with a purpose. For instance, running to swim practice or to a friend's house. I even run to Blockbuster video to return my over due movie rentals. Running with a purpose gives more credibility to the run and you also know that you are adding your two cents worth in keeping the environment clean.
* Go house hunting - Even though I have no means to buy these houses, I like to dream a little. Many houses that are for sale have "free" information brochures on the for sale signs which also list the asking price. I like to stop at the house and guess the price. Kind of like the "Price Is Right" show with Bob Barker.
* Run on the golf course - Shhh, I know that it is no trespassing, but it's hard to resist the plush feel of perfectly manicured and sure-footedness (except for the divots by hackers) of half inch grass. I like to start at a hole and run progressively through each hole. For example, I start at six and run the consecutive holes of seven eight.....eighteen, one two... It's also fun to run fartlek intervals such as one hole hard one hole easy. An eighteen hole course is usually about six thousand yards. This means a round of golf with the yardage between holes is approximately 5 miles. Anyone for 36 holes? I advise running the golf course during the Winter when there are no golfers up North or in the morning or dusk when there are fewer players. Remember, don't run on the greens and watch out for the groundskeeper, he can be a beast sometimes.
* Run with music - This is pretty self explanatory. Radios have become very light weight and many have straps to secure the radio around your arm. Make sure you tune into some of the morning shows. I'll be running on the sidewalks and double over with laughter after hearing some of the dialogue. Again, you get the stares from the civilians who think laughter is passé.
* Run at night - Especially during a full moon. For some reason I always feel faster running in the dark. One of my favorites is running on a typically busy street late at night during a snowfall. Everything is quiet except for the sound of your feet crunching the snow. If you are nervous about safety, run with a friend, carry mace and a whistle.
* Finally, bring along your spouse that is always squawking about how you don't spend enough time with he/she or the children - Your mate can ride a bike or roller blade while you run. You can run with a baby jogger or your children can also ride a bike. Aside from being with the ones you love, they can also carry water or munchies. If the rest of the family isn't very athletic, meet them somewhere; a park for a picnic or the swimming pool. Getting the family involved lets them realize what you are doing and the type of dedication that is required. Until a spouse sees you training, it is hard for that person to understand what you are doing.
These ideas should help spice up your long run. Enjoy it, don't dread it. Keep tri-ing and I'll see you on the run.
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