Why My Long Runs F’ing Suck

Well this week marked another “I’m not training but I’m running long on the weekends anyways” run that totally blew.


Right now I’m in my “off season”, although there still is some calculation to my workouts. I’m trying to maintain a decent base so I can jump right into my 10-week Ragnar/Eugene Marathon cycle (Feb 19) without dicking around with low-teen long runs early on.

So right now I’m technically just running for fun.



(I don’t DO fun-running)

Last week I ran 8 of a 10 mile loop.  Hated it.  If I had been anywhere near public transportation or strangers with vehicles I would have 100% hitchhiked a ride home.

I was pretty sure this week would be better.  I had a week full of great runs (track, tempo, and recovery) and was ready to tackle 12 with Ash and her bf Saturday.

… not quite.

“Wah wah this sucks running is stupid. Bet you can’t wait until you have to run twice this far! Signing up for another marathon was such a great idea! Dumbass.”

After some thought and blabbing to anybody that would listen (/read) I think I’ve figured out my problem.  Luckily, it has a healthy prognosis and I don’t have to bail on my Ragnar team for a less destructive hobby.

Although I’d argue I can turn anything into a practice of hate-filled futility with enough time and energy.  It’s a real sterling quality of mine.

The first few miles of the wretched “fun” long runs were actually great.  Feeling good, confident, and fast.  The stabby, kill-me-now feelings don’t settle in until around 6 or 7, coincidentally right around the time the run starts to feel a little hard.


Yes, the (new-to-me) Brooks Launch is just as dreamy as you probably imagine

So this thing I’m supposed to be doing for “fun” suddenly becomes “hard” and immediately warps into “work” and immediately I go from happy runner to pissed why-the-f*Ck-am-I-doing-this??!!

Spoiled Sarah doesn’t like doing things that are hard for shits and giggles. Fun things should be fun! Or taste good. Or make you hate yourself in the morning and crave a big greasy breakfast.

But during training, runs are supposed to be hard.  They’re supposed to feel like work.  That’s the point!  Working towards making yourself a better runner so you can kick ass (and hopefully hurt less) on race day.

Serious Runner Sarah gets that, so she doesn’t want to throw herself into Back Bay when the going gets a little less than ideal.

Which is why I decided not to stress out about a couple crummy runs.  On February 19th when the hypothetical training ball drops, we’ll be back to kicking ass in my Brooks/Sauconys, rather than trying to fart glittery rainbows in them.


And before you call me stupid and tell me to just start training now if I’m sick of fun running, it doesn’t work that way.  Not in OUaL-land.  10 weeks.  It’s already in Google Docs.  Sorry Charlie.

Which means you get to hear about 3 more weeks of shit runs until the real games start!  Are you so excited?

Poll : Are you a fun runner?  Or are you a little crazy type-A competitor that doesn’t see a purpose in something if you’re not going to win or get something beneficial out of it?  You can tell me.  It’s a safe place here.  Practically confessional.

Sarah OUaL

39 thoughts on “Why My Long Runs F’ing Suck

  1. First of all…. Love your blog. You crack me up. I started out as a fun runner but now need a purpose for my runs, or else it’s hard to stay motivated. I’m not trying to be first, cause I’m not fast. I just try to be faster than I was last time.


  2. Girl, I am with you. Decided to be all “proactive” and run my long run EARLY on Sunday morning (pre-church, like a good little Christian) and it was snowing hard core. Love Chicago! So I said, screw it I’ll go anyway, had a nice tail wind the way out but fell hard on ice. Then, the thing about tail winds is the way HOME, you no longer have it behind you but rather, the wind and snow are slashing your face so you can no longer see. I wanted to cry and sit in the middle of the street but no, I have 5 miles to go before I even got home to my ice bath. MOTHER F@*&#$! I had a breakdown moment because my pacing was effed and I fell again and I hate the midwest and I just want to run fast in sunny wonderful weather and I always want my long runs to make me feel amazing but this one blew. My hubby said it was “character building” which is stupid but I guess he might (I said might) be right. I’m with you on all of the above points in your bost. Love the blog, keep on running even when it sucks monkey balls.


  3. Sounds like you did hate yourself in the morning … I thought you said that makes you happy.

    Were you running Back Bay Saturday? That’s where I was. It got hot out there.

    Poll question: I’m a fun runner. Sometimes that means doing stupid stunts, sometimes it means running slow with other people, sometimes it’s to raise money for charity and sometimes it means pushing myself harder than I think I can to see what I’m made of. But at the end of it all, it’s always for whatever is fun for me at that point in time. Because this is my hobby. And if your hobby isn’t fun, what’s the point?


  4. I think you are just getting all your crap runs out of the way before real training starts – nothing wrong with that!

    I think I am a combo… I love running and love running long so most of the time it’s “fun” to me especially right now. When I do have that feeling of hating runs, I just try and find a new route or run with friends or do something different to make it more fun. Usually it takes a good 4-6 miles though before I find that happy place :)


  5. I freakin’ love your blog. You kill me. I am trying to get into the “fun run” mindset, but I’m not quite there yet. I sign up for 5k’s like they’re going out of style just so I have “something to train for” haha. PS love the new shoes!


  6. You’re actually executing genius training. Shitty runs now and then awesome/epic/#runboner inducing long runs for the 10 weeks (because that’s a totally normal training cycle) leading up to your April races. Genius. Seriously genius.


  7. Right now running is not fun for me. My arse and hip are nagging making it less than ideal to try to go any faster than a snails pace. It’s irritating. Your “official” training is right around the corner and you will be all #runboner again. Can’t wait for Ragnar!


  8. i am absolutely type a — need an end goal runner. i have races lined up for a year and i am always training for something. and i am currently injured and its messing my groove up big time.

    i totally agree with Laura up there — if i dont i will be on the couch with a bag of skittles.


  9. Love your header. Adorable!

    I’m jealous of your Ragner Team…I feel like I need a team environment where I can see others enjoying running to inspire me. I’m having a tough time wanting to run long…maybe 2012 is the year of short races for me!

    Poll: Usually I like purpose for a run. They can be “fun” for me when I have running buddies tho!


  10. I’m in the middle of my half marathon training – 7 weeks in to a 14 week training schedule. I have approximately 3 months between the end of that and starting to train for my first half. I am already trying to work out what will be my training in the middle three months. Take a guess from that where I stand in the fun/work spectrum.


  11. I am most definitely NOT a fun runner. As much as I love running, I get so bored when I’m running for fun. I’m always playing these mind games like, “Well, you’re not training for anything so you can skip this run.” That one run turns into 2 runs which eventually turns into a week of runs. Hence, my constant need to have a race on the schedule at all times. That way my crazy type A personality is happy when I get to cross off every completed run.


  12. I’m spoiled as well, which is why I rarely force myself to do speed work and even when I do I always let myself slack. It’s baaaaddd! I need a hard ass there to keep me accountable! You’re going to KILL Eugene, no worries!


  13. I prefer being a fun runner, but in the interest of not being the same speed my entire life, I’ve become less fun ;-). I’m competitive, but not on a daily basis.

    Pretty sure in a couple years, I’ll stop this tomfoolery called “workouts”. :)


  14. Is it possible to be both?
    I love the butt-kicking of a good track workout, but I only do those when I have a *real* reason to.
    But running… in general… I do because I love it.
    Race or no race, I’m lacing up the shoes and going out for a run at least 3 times a week just because I can.


  15. I’m a fun runner for sure! I struggle with training if I don’t have a race on the calendar. I also struggle with pushing myself hard when training starts because it hurts and that is not fun either.
    I’m all about fun and self preservation. heehee


  16. Long runs aren’t necessarily supposed to be that hard – it probably means you are running them too fast. They are supposed to be even slower than marathon pace. Example, RoseRunner (crazy fast chick) does her long runs at like 8-8:30 and her MP race pace is 7:00. Using that math, my long runs should be 9:44-10:15. I have a hard time going that slow but I’m still in the 9:10 range even on 12 milers. Routinely running all my long runs at 8:44 (last MP garmin pace) would be a miserable experience. Maybe shorter back down runs, OK, but not the longest mileage in recent training weeks.


  17. so i went to the track at newport high school, and did 2 miles. TWO miles and i wanted to die. i can 5 miles on the treadmill no problem, but 2 on the track? kill me now. i am not a FUN or a SERIOUS runner, I am a -i-signed-up-for-a-stupid-half-marathon-because-iwanted-to-prove-i-could-do-it-and-i’m-too-stubborn-to-quit runner.


  18. Not only am I a fun runner. I need an intervention from my running addiction. My friends are nice when they say that I am dedicated. At times I am nuts about running. The weather, my health, my body does not stop my running. I finally admitted to my husband that I am crazy runner and he has to think for me when it comes to running. I am not competitive; I just love running.

    For example, Saturday, I drove to the local trails and ran 14 miles. 14 miles on trails covered with, at least, 1″ of snow. Anyone else would have gone home. Nope, I am supposed to run 14 miles. My training schedule, says so.

    Speaking of training schedule – I missed my relationship with a training schedule after finishing the Chicago Marathon. So, I research and found a 25 week training program to get ready for the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in June. <—Really. I have lost my mind.


  19. I’m both, but I lean more towards the type A side. I like to run for fun. I like my hard runs. Love them actually. But I’m always saying “yeah, I could go faster.”

    which is why, today, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture from overtraining (apparently it’s not advised to running 16, 18, 16, 18, and a 20 back to back weekends, while doing hills and speed work.) Shit, I was just trying to be like Skinny Runner….

    Womp Woooooooomp.


  20. I’m always amazed that even when I’m in the best shape I still have bad run days. But I think what’s awesome about running is that you’ve never mastered it and you can always improve. Just when you think you’re at the top of your game you have a horrible, side cramping, want to die/puke in the gutter run to bring you back to reality. It just keeps things interesting. :)


  21. Ditto to everything above. It’s running karma. Every sucky run banks a kickass run in the future. I’m sure there’s solid research on this somewhere…? As for me, I’m afraid I’m one of those, um, “fun runners.” If only I could quit my job, maybe I’d have some energy to do some “work” on my runs…


  22. I only run for the attention from my family at the finish line. Otherwise they would be asking me to wipe their butts the whole day. This may or may not include my spouse. One day off of butt wiping is worth 300 training miles.


  23. I don’t generally run for fun and am worried later this summer when I ease up on the signing up for races thing what will happen. I just don’t see myself running more than 5 or 6 miles if I don’t have a legitimate reason. And then what? Not sure. Slightly nervous. Kinda excited.


  24. I would say I’m somewhere in between…I think there’s times for fun runs and times when you should be competitive and go all out. I love when I can get a social run in with friends and then I love to race. It’s important to have that balance so you don’t burn out…running for me is an outlet and I think should be enjoyed so I try and mix it up.


  25. Found this blog from Abylssa’s blog, and I’m definitely a purpose runner. I thought I’d be a fun-runner until I went on a few “fun”-runs and realized you suck at running if you never run, and if you suck at something, it’s typically not fun..

    I’m trying to push myself to train for a 5k (pathetic, right?), I’m 100% sprinter to the core.


    • ” if you suck at something, it’s typically not fun ” <— life motto.

      The 5k is a gnarly distance. Sprinting for 20-some minutes is not fun, but there's always such a rush feeling like your lungs are exploding and 100% you're going to puke and then somehow not. Is that gross?



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