Last time we spoke I had just run 10 miles for the first time. Well, this weekend I ran 10.20. I had perfect weather for a run -- not too hot, not too cold. But after the run I realized a big reason I could run that extra .2 (other than the obvious point that I've been training for my half marathon) was because I changed up my normal weekend route.
This weekend, instead of running my reliable, hilly 3-mile loop several times until I hit the 10-mile mark, I ran on a long dirt trail that wound through farm fields and meadows with wildflowers. I think the change of scenery was good for my running mental health. Plus, the ever-changing terrain underfoot kept me on my toes (I really had to pay attention to not tripping over a root or rock), rather than just slapping along on pavement.
As usual, my run wasn't fast, but I did it. I didn't walk, I didn't quit. I ran the entire 10.20 miles. If I had tried to run the same distance on my normal route, I would have gotten quite bored very easily. When I get bored, my mind starts to wander. When my mind wanders, I start to think "geeze, that's a big hill" or "am I done yet?" Thinking like that leads me to want to stop. With this new route, it was nice to just take in all the new sights, wave to fellow runners, dodge the dog-walkers, and soak up the beautiful weather.
I think from here on out I'll have to try a new route every time I have a longer run -- especially when my distances start reaching 11 and 12 miles.
What do you do to stay interested in your exercise routine?