Roughly 1 hour per day on average for approximately 15 years. That is my loose estimation of time I have spent running. This adds up to 228 days which is well over half of a year. The reason I share these calculations is not to speak to how committed I am or the sacrifices I’ve made to pursue such goals as I have. Alas, is it to answer everyone who has ever asked an endurance runner, ” what do you think about when you run that far?”
Occasionally the time spent running melts away in a flash with a few good stories from a training partner. Although more often than not silence prevails and the run becomes a slow bleed as you day dream about anything and everything to pass the time and utilize that oxygen for more pertinent efforts. In the end it’s a drawn out game between your mind, body, and the clock to complete yet another run successfully.
Below I have explained some thought processes that have unraveled in my brain during those 60-120 minutes of running each day.
1. Thoughts of Grandeur: Pretty often I will drift off into a future race and play through a few scenarios in which I mostly always win. This is something that plays in my head often because it is motivating which helps the run, beneficial to performance because it’s true visualization of a real future race, and can really burn some time. I would also add that during cross training this is practically all I think about to keep me from tapping out early.
2. Worry: Some runs are truly difficult from the first minute to the last. When this happens it is hard not to think about what you did wrong, why you feel terrible, and if you will ever have a good run again. Usually during a difficult run my thoughts can be pretty negative but it ends up being alright because it triggers a call to action. Tough runs and visions of getting last place at the Olympic Trials is a good way to zero in on anything that could be causing that fatigue. And of course if my next run is a good session, I’m back to being the future world record holder in my head.
3. Total Nonsense: These thoughts only have one thing in common, complete invention. They are made up scenarios, conversations, fights, social events, naming all 50 states, singing songs I know, making up my own songs, etc. During these time-burning, mind-numbing day dreams I usual am extremely good at all extreme sports, very eloquent and witty which I use to “how bout them apples” anybody who tests me, in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and really ridiculously good looking.
Well now that I have spent time writing about how I spend my time running it has all come full circle and I’m out!