Athletics Magazine

I Ran 16 Miles and Hated/Loved It

By Brisdon @shutuprun

I’m pretty convinced that if we wait until we really FEEL like doing something, very little would ever get done. Well, maybe lots of potato chips would get eaten, but that’s about it.

People wonder how you are supposed to get motivated to work out, to train for a race, to lose weight. There is a very secret key to motivation, drive and determination, but it might not be what you think.

You see, I think lots of us hang out waiting to FEEL like we want to run or go to the gym. Then when that feeling of really wanting to do it never comes, we bag the workout or ditch the run. My belief is you need to turn off your brain – to not engage it about whether it wants to do something or not. The trick is to just start and your motivation will follow.

I’m going to be honest. Yesterday I had a 16 mile run planned. I knew I would do it, because I don’t miss training runs unless I am injured or sick. But, I have to tell you – my heart wasn’t in it. I woke up to gray skies and cold temperatures. Wah, wah, whine, whine (wait! Did someone say “wine”?).


The thought of being out there running for 2-3 hours just didn’t give me a boner. Even when Ken agreed to run the first 8 miles with me, I just felt incredibly BLAH and unmotivated. Anyone who tells you that they love every minute of marathon training is probably lying or high. Yes, I am healthy and CAN run. I don't take that for granted. But that doesn’t mean I’m always going to feel like doing it.

We drove to the halfway mark to leave Ken’s truck and my refueling supplies. As we drove west towards the mountains, I saw the sun peek up into my rear view mirror. It was a ball of fire – so bright and full of light…


Too bad I didn’t care that much. Still dragging, wishing I was in bed.

As we started we were headed into a strong and nipply headwind. This did not help my mood. I was freezing. ¾ mile down, 15 ¼ to go. I turned off my brain. I stopped the chatter. I chanted “relentless forward motion.” And I went. Step by step.

We didn’t talk much. I’m not sure Ken was totally in the mood to be out there either. I stopped to crap once, because that’s what I do. Ken decided I should run with a toilet paper roll around my wrist (great running invention! Tell Mark Cuban). Genius except that you would have to have stick figure arms to make this work.


At a bit more than halfway Ken was all bundled up in his warm truck listening to Howard Stern while I fueled with a gel and topped off my water. I headed out for the last 8 miles, realizing my motivation and energy was creeping back in. Damn endorphins! I came up on a couple, probably in their 60s, having the time of their lives running 11 miles and training for a trail race. Seeing them out there smiling, their noses running and spittle gathered at the corners of their mouths, I noticed they were just glad to be out there. And all of a sudden, so was I.

The last mile was a bit of a torture fest – my hamstring started to hurt and I was just ready to be done. I once again thought about how if you set out to run 16 miles, then your body only wants to go 16 miles. If you set out to run 20 miles, your body can go 20 miles that day. So, so mental. I swear I don’t think I could have run 26.2 miles yesterday. See – I look like death warmed over:


16 down, 18 to go next week. I guess the point is not that I didn’t want to do it, but the fact that I did it anyway and eventually found my groove. Need more motivation tips – go HERE.

What’s the longest training run you’ve ever done? Me –> 20 miles

What are your tips to getting through a long run? I listen to music during the last half. I also try to not focus on the whole distance, but just increments like 5 miles, then halfway, then only 2 miles to go, etc. I think a lot about post run rewards like a huge cup of coffee and a donut (with bacon on top?). Having a friend/spouse join me for part of the run helps a ton too.


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