Monday, November 10, 2008

Things to Do on Your Long Run When Your Legs Are Dead

You might not be aware of this but I’m in the middle of training for a marathon. In January I’ll be heading out to Arizona to run in the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, an endurance feat that I doubt has ever been accomplished by anyone else in the history of mankind. As part of my training for this daring undertaking I have been increasing my weekly mileage, and more specifically, increasing my long runs on the weekend. I’ve always found long runs to be somewhat boring and monotonous, but that is even more pronounced during marathon training, when your long runs last well beyond their entertainment value, kind of like an SNL skit.

Fortunately for you, I’ve come up with a useful list of things that you can do to help pass the time.

  • Use the time to plot the perfect murder.
  • Ponder the chicken and the egg, which one came first?
  • Use the time to concoct the perfect margarita.
  • See if you can balance your water bottle on your head.
  • See if you can balance your check book in your head.
  • Write your next blog post. If nothing exciting is happening then just make stuff up.
  • Try out some pick-up lines on everyone you see.
  • Listen to your mp3 player and figure out what Weird Al would do to each song. Surely you can do better than Rye or the Kaiser.
  • Call a cab.
  • Curse this cold weather.
  • Think up insanely long and confusing titles for your next blog post based loosely on movies that you haven’t even seen.
  • Pee on things.
  • Count the number of steps you take in a minute.
  • See if you can increase that number.
  • See if you can decrease it, maybe even to zero.
  • Stop somewhere for lunch.
  • Shout obscenities at some random passer-by.
  • Steal candy from a baby.
  • Change the screens on your Garmin to display sunrise, date, calories, and GPS Accuracy because knowing your time, distance and pace is overrated and only makes the run feel longer.
  • A spirited game of Ding, Dong, Ditch is a great way to get in some fartleks. (Did anyone else call this game Knock Down Ginger? That was how I knew it growing up in England but my wife had no idea what I was talking about.)
  • Take your Blackberry and reply to some e-mails.

Before you know it your run will be over and you’ll have a speedy time, because time flies when you’re having fun.


  1. That's a great list. You may need it during the actual race. I was bored out of my gourd for the last seven miles of my marathon. I didn't have an MP3 player with me, there was no spectator support b/c that portion of the course was through the murder-district of KC, and I'd gotten separated from my running friend.

    By the way, you've never said why you grew up in England. Enquiring minds (me) want to know.

  2. In-te-res-ting....England, eh? Do you have an accent and use strange slang? This completely changes the otherwise flawless profile I had of you. You know- the "I read snippets of your life online so therefore Know You Completely" profile.

  3. Crap. You're not a foreigner are you? My xenophobia knows no boundaries.

    You forgot to put "Badger Other Bloggers Even Though They're Trying to Train for the Same Damn Marathon." on your list.

  4. Add me to the list of those who had NO idea you were British.

  5. Maybe you should start studying Zen. Because then you could maybe induce a fugue state (which is like a battleground state but with 50% more hicks per circular mile (f*ck these square miles with their bowties and pocket protectors!)) at will and then do all the things on your list and not remember any of it. Then, you could tap that Nicolette Sheridan and be able to say to the Mrs., "I'm not to blame! I was in a fugue state, I tells ya!"

    Come to think of it, that last one's nothing new. It would fall under the rubric "plot the perfect murder". Because when you give that excuse to your wife, she'll then be free to kill you for all those other reasons she's doubtlessly been accumulating over the years. But if she says she did it because of your "fugue state" excuse, no jury would ever convict her.

    P.S. I knew you were British because you always run on the lefthand side of the road. Hence, either a Brit or a Bolshevic - like there's a difference.

  6. I've pondered a blog post and then blogged about pondering said blog post. It got way too meta and confusing though. I like the murder suggestion much better.

  7. Great list. I'll be sure to try a few.

  8. I like the "call a cab" bit.

  9. Actually, I spend many of my runs pondering all the ways somebody could try to murder ME, and the ways I would fight back in each case. Often this distracts me to the point that, were somebody to actually try to kill me, I wouldn't even notice. So I suppose it's unproductive as a defense mechanism, unless one's primary enemy is boredom.

  10. Knock down ginger all the way! You did omit shout at idiot drivers!

  11. I usually spend my long runs wondering why the hell I decided to train for a marathon in the first place. I hope it wasn't peer pressure.

  12. Wait, you're running a marathon?1? Really? I hadn't noticed. ;o)

    I'm like viper though, I just wonder why the hell I'm out there. Thankfully, I run in an urban area, so I get to be entertained by drunks, homeless people and idiot drivers during my runs. Never a dull moment.

  13. On my run the other day I suddenly realized how many different odors there are in a good 3 mile radius of my house. I can't imagine how many different things there are to smell on a LONG run . . . and I'm wondering if all of them need identifying, or if it is best to just keep moving to find one that doesn't need pondering. Hmmmm . . .
    Your email response got me thinking of another idea: Can you blog and run at the same time? That would be a real time saver.

  14. I don't see a single mention of urination near or on any people...I'm a bit dissappointed.

  15. Very funny.

    Long runs can be monotonous. I like the one where you make up the most ridiculous story EVER and that you lived to tell about it.

  16. Who is Ginger and why should she be knocked down? And maybe you can tell me why the English call soccer "football". Oh, wait, that does make more sense.

  17. I ran into a tree replying to e-mails once. I also ran into one peeing on things too. Huh.

  18. Trust me, once your legs die you will NOT be thinking about how to concoct the perfect Maragarita. You will be wondering how long it was since you saw the last mile marker and cursing when you realize it has only been 100 yards.

  19. Hope to see you in Phoenix in January! I will be there! Funny post. Jessica (


Please note: If this post is more than a week old then Comment Moderation has been turned on and your comment may not show up immediately.