Long Runs: Slow Down, Listen (to an Audiobook) and Take Pictures

Few things make you feel more smug than watching a sunrise and posting the pic to let everyone know you were the early bird.

Unlike my spring marathon training, preparing for the Marine Corps Marathon has involved more solo long runs. Now I enjoy running alone: one of the reasons I was attracted to running in the first place was the fact I could escape human contact and get into shape. But when the long runs begin to stretch into the high teens of mileage and the hours stack up, the solitary runner may start to get a little…bored.

Running early also lets you get cool pictures of mist on the river…if you are near a river.

“Photo-hunting” is a good way to pass the time as you run. As long as you have a smartphone you can snap away to prove you were out there, trudging along and having a grand old time. Also, brainstorming captions is a fun mental game to play with yourself as you crank out the miles.

Choosing new routes keeps the long miles interesting: a long route I did recently (full disclosure: with a few friends) took me past the elephant enclosure at the Seneca Park Zoo. After ten miles or so, who could blame me for stopping to take pictures of elephants?

Interesting fact: elephants can “hear” with their feet, and also hate being photographed in the morning. See how this guy hid from me?

If finding stuff to snap pictures of isn’t keeping boredom at bay, I would recommend investigating an audiobook. Sure, music is usually our ear-candy go-to, but if you have to crank out 15 or 20 miles slow and steady, a good audiobook can keep your mind engaged while your body does it’s thing. World War Z is a good choice: there are multiple narrators for a creepy story that will definitely motivate you to stay in shape. Zombies are coming: good cardio will keep you alive!

Graffiti always makes for good running pictures. Also, some of it is pretty awesome. Most of it is not, but sometimes you get lucky. Like any art form.

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