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Why is running a longer distance easier than a shorter distance?

I’ve been training for the Race for the Roses but I haven’t been talking about it.


Three reasons I’ve been avoiding the conversation:

1. A lot of it has been on the treadmill. I’m a big baby when it comes to running in the dark (I can only run early in the morning) and as soon as it started getting light around 6 am, along came daylight savings. Stupid daylight savings. Anyway, all that really means is that I’m caught up on The Voice because it’s the one thing that motivates me to get on the treadmill. I love Blake.

2. I was afraid you were getting bored. I mean, how much do you really care about the miles I ran?

That’s what I thought.

3. Finally, I haven’t been loving my training. My treadmill runs are boring (and that’s with Mr. Shelton) and my outside runs are cold. And whether or not I’m on the dreadmill or pounding out my time on the pavement, the miles have been hard. Hard.

My mom and dad bought me this book for Christmas. It’s not as much inspirational as it is funny and random, but the title affirms my latest thought process.


My schedule during the last month called for 2-3 mile runs. You’d think I’d prefer those over longer distances.


My most recent workouts have been 4-5 miles a piece. And they’ve been great! And when I’ve finished the prescribed miles I’ve thought, “Hey! I could keep going!”

My hypothesis is that once I break through that 3 mile “wall”, my body adjusts. My pace becomes automatic. My breathing becomes consistent. My heart isn’t racing. I just feel good.

This could all be completely anecdotal. It’s very possible that I’ve coincidentally had a few good runs and I’m crediting the higher mileage for my success. I don’t know.

Any thoughts? How could it be that a longer workout is easier than a shorter workout, if you’re at the same intensity either way?


2 responses »

  1. I would definitely agree about that! I, too, don’t break that barrier until about mile 3 (sometimes mile 4!), but once I do, I could just keep going and going! And now that I have been off running for about a year, I can’t even do one mile because mentally my brain is like, “Just stop this!” I also think treadmill training does some weird things to your endurance, too. I had to train a lot on treadmills for half marathons because I live in Phoenix and it is just too hot most of the year. Doing long runs outside became easier than short treadmill runs. Weird. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! We’re heading to San Diego for a week of vacation and I’m feeling inspired: new location, warmer weather, no schedule on vacation. So running whenever – not at the crack of dawn!


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