Susie Chan: 'how to love long runs'

In her new monthly column for The Running Bug, inspiring endurance runner Susie Chan shares how to learn to love long runs.

Susie Chan: 'how to love long runs'

If you have a spring marathon or half marathon coming up, the chances are your runs are getting longer, and your washing pile is bottomless. (Since I started running I don't think I've ever made it to the bottom of my washing basket. Perhaps that's where the other half of my many missing socks are).

How do you keep yourself motivated on that long slow run? Certainly in the inclement winter weather, it's not that easy. As your training runs get longer and longer, here are my top tips on keeping it interesting. 


Having run a very long way on many occasions, I have bored myself rigid with my own inner monologue. I've even got bored of my playlists. I have found that the radio, podcasts or audio books are a great distraction.

Chatty stuff rather than music can pass the time nicely. There are plenty of great running podcasts if you want to absorb all things running. 

Run with friends

I don't think there is a single person out of my run friends who I have not asked to run with me. Arranging to meet someone helps you get out the door, and running with someone can pass the time easier.

If your running friends don't want to go for a long training run then arrange for them to meet you near the end of your run. Then it's something to look forward to as the miles pass. 


Try a parkrun mix up. This is something I've done a few times. Essentially it involves incorporating a parkrun into your long slow run. I've sandwiched a short sharp parkrun in the middle of long run and it's given me a focused time I need to get there, and made it more interesting in the middle.

The miles add up when you run to parkrun and then run home. Plus, you get to make new run friends and you never know, you may make longer run training buddies too.

Get lost

Some of you will enjoy the quiet solitude and personal time that running brings. For the solo runners amongst you, you might want to explore new routes and hit the trails. If you are feeling brave, you could make it up as you go along.

Finding a route back or to the mileage you want gives you something to think about. I sometimes drive to a new spot to run around. Just the change in scenery from your normal run patch can be entertaining.

Enter a race

If you really want to galvanise those training runs, you could always enter a race to use as training. Try a 10K if you are running a half marathon or half marathon if you are running a marathon. You don't have to race it, just get used to that pre-race atmosphere and get your pre-race ritual down to a tee. 

And there you have it. Ultimately, those long slow runs are where you do the really hard work getting yourself race ready, and the effort will reward you well come race day. 

However, I don't really have any tips on how to make the endless washing any easier.. In fact, if you have any laundry tips, do let me know! 

Susie Chan is an endurance runner, who competes in some of the world's toughest ultra-marathons and endurance races. Find her on TwitterInstagram, Facebook or read about her races on her blog

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