Today’s guest post is brought to you by Kara from Kara Runs! She is so amazing — she is currently training for her FIRST Ironman!! 
Hi everyone! I’m Kara from KaraRuns.com, and I’m very honored to be guest posting again for Lora! When we first met, we bonded over running. Running, and the trials and tribulations of being Midwestern girls in NYC. (So dramatic!) We’ve since become great friends, and even ran a Ragnar Relay together! If you can spend an entire weekend running and sleeping in cars and you don’t hate each other at the end, you know you’re friends for life. It’s a fact.
As I was trying to come up with an entertaining topic to dazzle you lovely Crazy Running Girl readers with, Lora suggested I write about how I keep my mind busy during long workouts. Read: how I keep from going absolutely crazy. For the past year, I’ve been training for my first Ironman (on July 28th, ahhh!) so I’m no stranger to long, lonely bike rides accompanied by nothing but my own thoughts. (Not even music! Can you imagine?!) I’ve always been a run-with-music type of gal, so throwing music-less bike rides into the mix really threw me off. But, I accepted the challenge and am happy to say I’ve survived all the long hours of nothingness!

I’d like to say I’m now a pro at entertaining myself when all I want to do is go home and eat ice cream on the couch, but I’m still learning. I usually spend a solid hour wondering why I’m out there (I just can’t help it!) but for the remaining time, I have a few little tips and tricks that get me through it. They aren’t earth shattering, but maybe they’ll help you!

1. First, a quick one: focus on your form…especially as you get further into the workout. While running, are your feet striking below your knees or out in front of you? Are your shoulders hunched over on the bike? Make a mental note on how you feel (are you super tired?) and whether your form changes. Just make sure you watch where you’re going! *I’d like to take this moment to say I can’t be held responsible for anyone falling into a ditch!

2. If you’re on a long run and feel up for it, make it into a mini interval workout. Pick up the pace for an allotted amount of time, between specific landmarks, or on certain loops. Breaking the run into smaller intervals mentally makes it feel a little less daunting.
3. What are you knowledgable about? Do you know the names of all the presidents? The winners of every New York City Marathon? Try and list all the names in order. Or, if you don’t want to think THAT much, name as many vegetables as you can. Or flavors of ice cream. (Are you seeing a trend in this post? I have a slight addiction to ice cream. I admit it.)
4. My track coach in high school gave me this tip once: start building your dream house in your mind. Imagine furnishing it with every little thing you’ve ever wanted in a home, with money being no object. Pretending you won the lottery also works – what would you buy? Go crazy!
5. Think about WHY you’re doing that workout. Are you training for a race? Visualize yourself on raceday feeling strong. List your goals and how your training will help you reach them.
6. In one particular race (I’m ashamed to admit it was 4 miles and I still was super bored) I starting thinking about the people who couldn’t be out there and how lucky I was to have that opportunity. I’ve been fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, so I make sure to dedicate some miles to the cancer patients I’ve met, reminding myself that my struggle (a tough workout) WILL eventually end.
7. Try to do math. I’m so terrible at math that if I try to calculate paces and finishing times based on my average pace at that point, it distracts me for at LEAST 15 minutes.  (“I’m exactly one-twelfth of the way done?! Fantastic!”) *This probably won’t keep you too busy if you’re above a 3rd grade math level. I am not. 

Sidenote: I just asked my boyfriend what he thinks about when he’s working out and all he has are his thoughts. He deliberated for a moment and came up with “…think about you?” What a gem! (He’s totally lying.) 
8. If it’s an option, run or ride somewhere new. Not only do you get to check out some new scenery, but you probably won’t have as much of an idea about where you are in relation to the full course. For example, when I run around my town, I know exactly how far I am from home at all times. Sometimes this is good, other times I’m all “HOW AM I ONLY HERE. I AM SOOO FAR FROM BEING DONE. BLAHHH.” (No, that’s not an exaggeration at all.)
9. If you DO have access to an iPod and it’s safe to use headphones, try finding a podcast based around one of your interests. I love learning everything I can about triathlon, so I found a podcast that’s all tri talk all the time. Seeing as most of my friends get a blank stare in their eyes as soon as I mention swimming, biking, and/or running, it’s nice to listen to someone else talk about it and tell me all their secrets. I always thought listening to people talking (as opposed to music) would be boring, but I’ve found that it definitely passes the time if it’s a topic you love!

Hopefully some of these help on your next long run, long bike ride, long drive, when you’re in a long meeting, or any other time you’re doing something that seems to take forever. Enjoy!


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