Tips on running long distance

“Isn’t running long distance boring because there is nothing else to do but run?”

That’s what several people told me when I said I was recently into running race and its training. My answer to that was “I think you can get many things out of a race, but you might be right about the boring part, therefore I do one thing to prevent me from getting bored.”

Well, when you are running, you can’t do a whole lot of things because you are constantly moving your legs and arms, watching forward and paying attention to your breath. But there is another activity that you can add to them and that does not affect your running. That is “listening“.

As I said, you get many things out of a race (see “5 things to learn from running race”). But in order to make it more sustainable, I wanted to deal with not making myself bored, that’s why I started listening to “things”.
So today, from my own experience, I would like to talk about what things to listen to when running a race (*subjeitve).
For the last 2 months, I’ve run more than 200km (10-18km each time), and I have tried to listen to different kind of things. Here are some findings:

1. Music
There are many people who run and listen to music so that I started with this.
First, I tried House (techno) music since that is my favorite. I figured this was good to cheer me up but not suitable for long distance because I got a bit too excited (calming down to maintain your pace is really important as far as long run is concerned). It was same with break beats, hip hop and pop songs. Then I tried classic music, which ended up calming me down too much. Besides, you feel awkward when your steps don’t match with the beat of the music (I don’t know if it’s a dancer thing).
In short, I came to conclude that music is not so adequate for my running long distance because it influences my emotion and pace.

2. FM Radio
I chose radio then because I thought incorporating some talk with music would not change my emotion so much. And it worked for a bit, but still, combination of talk and music somehow interrupted the rhythm of my running pace.

3. News
Then I tried something without music, in particular, “Podcast” which has a variety of episodic series of audio programs (and it’s totally free!). I tried French lesson podcast first (my favorite are “Radio lengua network” and “RFI”), but it didn’t work well because you can’t think so much when you are running, so it wasn’t help me run nor learn things. Also, the length of each episode is important, and 10-20 minute-long podcast is not recommendable since you might get interrupted every time each episode finishes.
Considering the content and length, I ended up with “TED” which consists of interviews with several TED speakers and their talk by episode’s theme (e.g., creativity, learning, success, etc.) and each episode lasts 50 minute-long, which is great length especially for 10km run.

In conclusion, listening to music and radio is not recommendable because you might get too excited or interrupted. Instead, I prefer listening to news by podcast, especially TED radio since it helps me not too bored nor excited in order to keep my running sustainable.


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