New environments and impressions are important for your mind. They help you prevent turning your runs into complete brain death exercises. This counts especially for the longer runs. I live right nearby the park, where you can run 3,3 kilometers laps. Last year while training for the New York marathon I ran once 7 laps. It was a mental nightmare. Here are some great sites for finding new routes in every city worldwide.
'Plenty of studies have shown that music increases concentration, lowers perception of effort, provides ongoing stimulus and generally leaves you feeling more positive.'
According to a Runner's World survey, 75% of all runners prefer to run with music. I am still struggling with running with music since I do not like bringing too much gear while I run. When I do run with music I download DJ mixes from SoundCloud.
The mix I ran on yesterday, 25 km with an average pace of 4:30 min/km :)
This one is crucial. On longer runs you need to stay hydrated. Under extreme conditions such as high temperatures and long runs there are actually runners that collapse. This post however is about making your run more pleasant so let's not dive into the extreme stuff. What I do think is important is that you drink regularly preventing yourself getting cramps. Dehydration leads to cramps. So drink at least every 5km. Personally I am not very font of wearing water belts, but I do recommend them since they make sure you have enough water on you. When I go out for a 20+ km run I simply bring a 500ml bottle of liquid. When I run over 25 km I stop somewhere to refill my bottle. Last but not least, make sure your drink or gels contain electrolytes. These are essential ingredients for any endurance athlete.
Although running in the end is a fight against yourself and the elements, running together makes the long run feel shorter. And that is for several reasons. One, the first 10 km or so you will be still able to catch up with each other on work, gossip and date material. Two, after the first 10 km you motivate each other, you simply don't want to fall behind. However, make sure you run with someone that has an equal level. Otherwise running with someone quickly turns into a pain in the ass.
Mentally it is difficult to start with your first 21km run. it just sounds so far! How about cutting that distance in 4 X 5km (with a 1km bonus ;)?! This will help you take the edge of that first long run. At the end, in the beginning everyone was struggling with that first half marathon training. Even the Kenyans!
Hope this helped and if you have anymore comments or questions please leave your message below in the comments. Take care!