How to Run Beyond 5k: Boredom and Motivation
So, for whatever reason, you decided to give up life as couch potato and start running. You buy your first pair of running shoes, running shorts and shirts. You search the internet, and found a training program for running: From Couch Potato to 5k. You follow the program, and in a few weeks, or months, you finish your first 5k run.
Then, eager to run further, you do another search on the internet and found a training program for running 10k. You start to follow the program, but alas, this time it wasn't that easy. No matter how hard you train, or how long you train, you never be able to run past 7k mark without stopping to catch your breath.
You hit the ceiling of your running, is it?
Definitely no! What happen is that you have reached the plateau of your running performance. I hit the plateau of my running performance in early 2008, and for 2 years, no matter how hard I train, or change my program, I can't past the 7k mark.
Until 2 months ago, I join a running club. I meet and talk with several people who has run marathon. From them I, learn the cause to pass this training plateau and how to tackle it: Boredom and Motivation.
Find Music for Running
Boredom is the Worst Enemy
You can easily get bored by running on the same trail over and over, until you can practically run with your eye closed. Running indoor can also make you bored. I still can't pass the 7k mark on a treadmill, but can easily finish a 10k run when running on the street.
Boredom is bad, because when you are bored, time runs slow. You feel that you have cover so much distance, while in fact you only cover less than half. You will start to hear your feet thumping on the ground, your heartbeat getting faster, and your breath getting heavier. All of it will remove makes the run less fun, decreasing your motivation, and then you soon get tired.
To prevent boredom during a run is easy. Invest in a MP3 player and buy new CDs every now and then. The music will steal away your attention from hearing your heartbeat. And sometimes, you can even humming during the run. I find that Jazz music works best to counter boredom, contrary to what most people believe that high-beat music is the best to make you run longer.
Next, find a new place to run. Check the Google map to plot a new route. Google map can also estimate the distance to cover on you selected route. Drive out to a new public park to run. Running in a different time of would also work. If you normally run in the morning, try running on the evening or at night.
Log Your Next Run
Motivation = Fuel
Still remember why you started to run at the first place? Was it to reduce some weight or just to get healthier?
Motivations equal to fuel. Motivations make you keep running when it is cold outside, make you wake up early to run even after long night, or fit 1-2 hours for running into your busy schedule.
Unfortunately, the motivations that get you running at the first place will not work anymore. It is simply because you have achieved your goal for running. You already feel healthier, and lose few pounds. To be able to pass the performance plateau, you will need fresh new motivations.
So, how to find new motivations?
Competition is the strongest motivation I've ever found for any training, including 10k running program. Start making a training log to record your running distance, speed, and time. Then compare it with friend's running log. The easiest way to do it is to join a running club, where you can not only compare records with fellow runners, but also run together to cover more distance and to get advice.
Goal is another motivation. The easiest way to set a goal is by registering yourself to a 10k race. You will be motivated to train to finish the race.
As you become more fit, and able to run and cover more distance, keep find new motivation, and vary your run to avoid boredom. In no time, you will be able to finish your first marathon.
Stay healthy and keep running