The long run hanging over your head.

I’ve always had the issue with getting nervous about the long run hanging over my head. 

I try really hard to overcome it. But, when I have a 15 + mile run on tap, I let it sit in the back of my mind constantly… until it’s complete.

This weekend for instance, I plan to run 20 miles. Glenn is running long at 7am on Saturday, so the plan is to go right when he gets home. That will put me at a 9:30ish start time. In my brain though, I’m thinking- maybe I could get someone to watch Marshall Friday morning and just get it over with. OR maybe I’ll do is Sunday. If I don’t go right at 7:30 or 8:00 when I like, maybe it’s not a good idea to do it that day. Read: Excuse. Want to either 1. Get it over with on Friday or 2. Push it off till Sunday.

We are going out to dinner for our anniversary tomorrow night and I’m already thinking about how I’ll be thinking about the damn 20 miles that await me on Saturday morning and won’t fully enjoy the night out. Glenn thinks I”m a head case, because when he has a hard or long workout, he doesn’t think about it much, he just does his thing and when it’s time- he goes. Tell me I’m not alone though?!

What I need to remember is, last week when I ran 17- I enjoyed a lot of the run and yesterday when I did some intense speedwork, although it hurt A LOT at times, I really enjoyed a lot of it. Seriously I was smiling at the effort I was putting out. I was loving running. It’s not always like that, but I need to remember that.

The mind problems happen in the morning…. when I wake up and my body feels tired and I wonder how I can possibly run as far or as fast as my intentions are for the day, it’s as though I don’t think I enjoy running as much as I do. But then I get started and I get the first few miles in and remember how much I like and kick myself for “dreading” or letting a long run “hang over my head”.

When the dread affect starts happening, I need to think about this beautiful alone time I have to just be me and not worry about what anyone else is doing for just 2.5 hours. Just BE in the moment. Sure my legs get tired, but that’s not so tragic is it? What am I really worried about? Worried that I won’t hit the paces I want to hit? And would that really be the end of the world?

All I really need to remember is how amazingly strong and powerful I feel when the long run is done. How it makes me feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Every long run isn’t some amazing, incredible experience where I feel like I can conquer the world, but nine times out of ten, I finish feeling a lot more like I can than if I didn’t run long.

So my mission right now is to ENJOY what’s happening right now and not dread something I know will actually make me happy. What’s up with this love/hate thing and why are we so addicted to it?

Do you dread the long run?

What are some of your strategies to NOT dreading it? 

How do you break up your long runs?

Does it make you nervous if you have “fast paced” miles in your long run? 


  1. I could not relate to this more if I tried, especially with fast paced miles. I have not been in the mood to run anything fast and honestly I like to do it right in the morning when I wake up or I think about it way too long. It makes me feel so much better that someone else understands and feels the same way. Thanks for t

    1. Hi Hollie! You’ve been banging out the miles and I wouldn’t have guessed you have these feelings of the long run since you run med-long so often even in the week! SO- it makes me also feel better to know that you feel the same. 🙂 I’ve been enjoying following your NYC training.

  2. I agree. I wish I could be one of those runners that looks forward to long runs, but I really don’t. I know it is an unavoidable part of successful training and I should enjoy it, but I just want each weeks long run out of the way. I deal with the way that you do – put it off, dread it, do it and feel great afterward. If only we could bottle that feeling! 🙂 I’m scheduled to have my first 20 miler of the cycle this weekend too. Good luck!

    1. Hey Michelle, I had no idea you felt that way- for some reason I thought since you were able to bang out a 3:17 for your first marathon, you naturally didn’t dread the long run. I suppose I should never assume!! I just read about your little 4 day break- I hope it was just what you needed… and I also wish we lived closer and we could bang out the 20 together. Good luck with yours!

  3. I enjoy and look forward to my long runs. Can’t wait to do 20 this Sunday morning on the Prairie Duneland trail in Chesterton.

    Running is fun!

    1. I’m working on feeling like that- but it always hangs over my head!! Sometimes I think us women have more head games then you guys. At least that’s my experience seeing how I approach training compared to Glenn! (and apparently you too!) Have fun on your 20 this Sunday!!

  4. Thanks for sharing Lindsey….I will have some of my first long runs in the weeks to come. It’s somewhat reassuring to know that I have similar thoughts with a seasoned runner like yourself! Keep it up and happy anniversary!

    1. Hey! I’m glad you enjoyed- good luck with your long runs- are you doing the Monumental?? First full? So much of running is a mental game and you learn a lot the longer you run, but the games come and go that’s for sure!

  5. I’m with you! I think about my long run for days in advance! And honestly, even after many marathons, I still dread a 20 miler. Every time.

  6. Long runs are definitely a love/hate relationship. I get excited but nervous. I’m usually pretty good all week but the closer it gets the more I think about it ( as expected). The night before I am actually pretty calm but in the morning I get all negative nancy and question my abilities, no matter how many times I have run the distance. The best thing for me is just start, and go and stop thinking about it. I do a lot of visualizing while I run, particularly race moments (hard points, finish line etc.) and that really helps me get through long runs. I do get nervous when I have MRP miles in my long runs but I know that it will make me faster and the visualization really helps me there.

    1. Hey Laura, that’s a really good way to think about it. I do a lot of visualizing during my easy runs, thinking about how I will tackle long hard runs. And then, on the long hard run, think about the race. I’m excited about how I will feel finishing the run tomorrow. 🙂

  7. I do this exactly. I talk myself into pushing it to the evening or doing it a different day, and I think about it constantly. If I have an afternoon longer or harder workout I think about it in the back of my head all day. I do the same thing for longer runs as well. I had a “long run” for where I am in my training plan and told my husband last night to force me out of bed when my alarm went off and not to let me make excuses. Luckily I got it done and can now enjoy my Sunday, but I’m right there with you. I guess the lure of getting it done early so I don’t have that lingering feeling is what gets me out the door…

  8. I am really enjoying your blog and this post is me! Long runs make me nervous!!! I actually have switched mine to Friday and I really like that. I am really working at improving my marathon time so my last long run of 15 miles, I tried to do faster than I normally do them. My 1/2 marathon pr is 1:32 but my marathon pr is 3:36…I really want to bridge that gap. I used to do my long runs slow but this time I am trying to pick up my long run pace and hopefully that will help with stamina. I am also starting just this week replacing my speed with a stamina workout…we’ll see!
    I have not found a food fuel routine and I hate carrying water too so that makes me more nervous with my long runs

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