There are days when you lace up, head out and just love running. Everything feels amazing, your legs are light and bouncy, you’re flying up hills and your mile splits are definitely Insta-worthy.
Other days? Not so much. Not every run is going to be PR-setting amazing. But calling it quits isn’t an option—you’ve got a big race coming up, after all—so it’s time to call in the big guns and play a few mind games to distract you to make each mile a little less daunting. Here’s your guide about when, where and how to play.
For times when it’s ok to zone out:
Long Runs Outside
- The Appreciate Your Surroundings Game: “Look at everything like it’s the first time you’ve seen it or like it’s the last time you’ll see it,” says three-time Ironman Chris Mosier. “Pay attention to the way leaves crunch underneath your feet (fall is coming!), notice where two paths cross or acknowledge how the sun shines on a tree trunk. At the end of your run, try to recall three really great moments you noticed while running, and store them in your memory bank as inspiration for the next time you’re iffy about getting out there and getting a run done.”
- The Celebrity Lookalike Game: “Watch runners approach and pick a celebrity he or she looks like,” says Mary Arnold, field marketing manager for Running Specialty Group and 50-plus marathoner and ultramarathoner finisher. “One morning, I was convinced the guy running laps around the Central Park Reservoir looked exactly like Ashton Kutcher. Turns out, it was!”
- The Puppy Scouting Game: “Because when all else fails—look around for puppies,” says Mosier.