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How to make a long endurance training session go by faster

For those days when the road is long and a minute feels like 70 seconds, take heed of these tips from running coach Carita Riutta.

As we all know, the benefits of low intensity training are unquestionable: long and low intensity training builds the base for high-intensity training, improves our capacity to take air in and out, and helps us to use fat as an energy source instead of quickly disappearing glycogens.

So, it is important to start logging those miles despite the fact that long endurance sessions can be mentally tough and boring. To help you with those slow three-hour bike rides, two-hour runs or an elliptical session at the gym, here are 8 tips for making long endurance sessions go by faster. Go ahead and try one or few tips during your next long endurance training session!

1.Try a new route

Our simplest tip. Try a new route! It might require some extra planning but it pays to take a minute or two to plan a new route beforehand. One good option is to make the route one-way: pack your gear and take a bus or a train somewhere and run or bike back home.

2. Do it in loops

Running or cycling in endless loops might sound dreary but cutting a long endurance session into sections can help. You can, for instance, run a 15 km long run in 5 km loops. Instead of focusing on 15 km in total, focus on the 5 km loops. This is also a good trick when preparing for your next race; you can set up a drinking/fueling station in one location during the route and practice fueling.

3. Listen to music, podcasts or an audiobook

Music can give you wings! Create a playlist of your favorite songs before your next long training session. If music is not your thing, try an audiobook and get into a story while working out.

4. Buy new running gear

This tip is for all of you who get a kick from trying out new things! Whether it’s new tights, a new running armband, or a new heart rate monitor, one of the best ways to test the gear is to take it for a nice long tour. However, be mindful of the distance when you’re breaking in new running shoes, for example, to give your body time to adjust.

5. Play some mental games

If your mind is playing tricks on you, maybe it’s time for payback. Play a mental game called “How long can I go without looking at the time”. Choose a training view that only shows your heart rate and hide the duration and distance. Another trick is to focus your thoughts and eyes to your surroundings. Pay attention to the little details around you so your watch and those 70-second minutes are not the only things in your field of vision.

6. Join a team or a local training group, or just simply take a friend out

Socialize during your next long endurance training session! Go online and find a team or a training group near you and join their common runs or rides. Usually, these groups gather during the weekends. If you are not a groupie, simply call a friend and ask her or him out. If your friend cannot handle the same distance, do a loop and catch up later during the training session.

7. Change surface

If changing your route doesn’t do it for you, try changing the surface! If you are a typical road runner or a biker, go off-road and find natural paths around you. Remember to be careful however: new surface might make new muscles sore.

8. Cross-train and combine different sports

If you are a runner, switch your long run to a bike ride, or if you are a biker take your running shoes out! The benefits are the same, just remember to ease the pace in an unfamiliar sport.

If you liked this post, don’t forget to share so that others can find it, too.

Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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