Passed on by my good friend Jessica, who did cross country in high school, here’s my favorite long-distance running advice:
While running, keep your eyes and mind focused on an immovable object 30-50 feet away from you. Once you pass that landmark, pick a new focus point. And repeat.
For example, you’re running on a road with multiple lamps lined up alongside it. You can randomly pick a lamp that’s 50 feet away and run toward that lamp. Say there’s six lamps spread out between you and that said lamp, you can also count down the number of lamps you pass from your starting point to your landmark.
I like setting small, mental landmarks like this because I get distracted easily in my own thoughts. Oftentimes my mind becomes clouded with negative thoughts, like not being able to see a clear end in sight and thus feeling discouraged from completing my distance for that day. So picking a random object within reasonable distance and running toward it keeps me focused and motivated.
This advice is probably more helpful for runners who are training on their own, as I have been training solo this entire time. Pray for me as I attempt 18-20 miles tomorrow.