Tuesday, August 9, 2016

5 Tricks for Running Farther

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the CocoaVia® Live Your Life with Heart campaign. I was compensated for my time.

Hi, guys!

My friends who aren’t long-distance runners always ask me how I’m able to run so far for so long. Like a lot of runners though, I started out running only a mile or two at a time. In college, I got into a regular running routine, but I never ran more than 5 or 6 miles at once.

When I decided to train for my first marathon, it was not easy. At all. I got side stitches, took walking breaks, and experienced plenty of frustration. But I kept with it and pushed myself to run farther and farther each time I went out for a training run. Over time, I learned how to mentally prepare myself for long runs and, eventually, those double-digit distances weren’t so daunting.

I also learned that when it came to running, especially for a goal as huge as a marathon, the more I put into my training, the more I got out of it. Committing to my training plan was key to my success and focusing my energy, enthusiasm, and heart was essential to achieving my goal. It made crossing the finish line on race day one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.

cocoavia live with heart

Whether it’s training for a marathon, advancing your career, or spending time with your family, you can live your life to its fullest, which is why I am so excited to partner with CocoaVia® on their “Live Your Life with Heart” campaign since it helps you be and feel your best by promoting healthy blood flow and overall wellness.

CocoaVia® is super convenient (it comes in powdered stick packs and capsules) and tastes like dark chocolate (or Cran-Raspberry, one of the flavors), so it’s an easy addition to my everyday life. I like adding CocoaVia® to my morning iced coffee, protein shakes, and smoothies!


Never heard of CocoaVia®? Well, let me tell you more! It’s a daily cocoa extract supplement that delivers your body a high concentration of cocoa flavanols. You know all of those health benefits associated with chocolate? They actually come from the cocoa flavanols, not from the percent cacao or the darkness of the chocolate. Cocoa flavanols are plant-based nutrients (aka phytonutrients) found naturally in cocoa and studies indicate that cocoa flavanols promote a healthy heart by supporting healthy blood flow.†


Long-distance running is such a mental game for me. Physically, I know my body is capable to tackling longer distances, but sometimes it’s difficult for me to wrap my brain around the mileage. Over the years, however, I’ve learned that digging deep and utilizing a number of mental tricks are important for getting me through my long runs. Here are five of my go-to tactics and, hopefully, they will help you run farther, achieve you goals, and, ultimately, live your life to its fullest and with heart!

tricks for running farther

Play the number games

One of my tried-and-true tricks for mentally tackling my long runs is splitting the distance into smaller mileage. For a 12-mile run, for example, I’ll break up the mileage into four 3-mile runs, which seem so much more manageable. Thinking about running 12 miles in a row is overwhelming, but when I break it up, those shorter distances seem so much more do-able.

Pick a destination

Similar to my suggestion above, instead of thinking about a long run in total mileage, I think about how I can split up the distance by planning specific destinations into my running route. For instance, I’ll run two miles to the school down the road and then another three to the park and then back to my house. Having a destination in mind makes the miles fly by because I’m constantly thinking about running to the next destination instead of obsessing over the time or distance. It’s also fun to run to a food destination, like iced coffee or brunch with friends! 🙂

Carrots 'N' Cake-11 (1024x682)

Distract your brain

I love, love, love listening to podcasts during my long runs. I swear, there’s nothing better than a long run and podcast for my mental sanity. A new episode of one of my favorite podcasts can literally get me out the door for a run. Plus, listening and being totally engrossed in the podcast helps me run for a longer period of time. I never want to stop midway through and, often times, I’ll keep running until the episode is over. With a good podcast, the miles just end up flying by!

Find a mantra that keeps you going 

Motivational mantras always do the trick during a long run, especially when I’m struggling. On really tough runs (or when running up a big hill), I like to repeat my favorite running mantras in my head over and over to keep me going. Some favorites: “You’re stronger than you think” and “demand more of yourself.” Sometimes, a little self-talk is all I need to keep trucking along.

Imagine yourself on race day

This trick is a little cheesy, but it always helps me through those final miles of my long run: I envision myself on race day. (Actually, I envision myself on Comm Ave during the Boston Marathon!) During the end of a race, I would never let myself stop and walk, especially with all of those spectators watching me. So I pretend that I’m running in a race, feeling strong, powerful, and determined, which helps me toughen up and push myself through the hardest parts of my run.

Question of the Day

What’s your go-to trick for running farther? 

†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Big Changes Coming to Mark’s Daily Apple! What Do You Want to See? (Plus a Contest)

Question finalIt’s truly hard to believe, but this year we’re coming up on the blog’s ten year anniversary. That’s ten years of Primal tips, trends, contests, health challenges, events, and more. From a series of quick musings in the days when blogging was still the wild west, to thousands of posts and forum discussions later, Mark’s Daily Apple has come a long way since its humble beginnings. To celebrate, and to continue my life goal of helping 100 million people get healthy and live awesome, I have big plans for Mark’s Daily Apple on the very near horizon. Last year, I asked all of you for input as my team and I began the process of giving the blog a major design update. Now, after many months of hard work, we’re coming up on the final stages of getting the newly minted version of the blog ready for showtime. And we’ll be rolling it out in the weeks to come.

But here’s the thing.

It all starts and ends with you, Mark’s Daily Apple readers. You continue to be my primary focus and, as always, this blog wouldn’t be what it is without you.

So today I want to know what you want out of MDA. What do you want to learn? What interests you? And since I get some form of the question often, what do you want to know about my own personal day-to-day?

Health trends and topics have evolved a lot since I first started writing this blog. What was once a fringe topic is now mainstream. What was once novel is now old news. So what do you think is new, relevant, captivating, and pressing that needs to be addressed in the Primal sphere of 2016 and beyond? How can I better serve you and the community we have built together?

I’ve covered a lot of topics, but there are plenty more to be explored.

Whether it’s the new frontier of Primal Endurance, to the burgeoning field of Primal health coaching, there are new modes, concepts and practices of Primal living that are taking a foothold. Nutrition and lifestyle science, after all, is always coming out with new information. And the modern world isn’t planning on forestalling change anytime soon.

So I want to know how I can tackle all matter of things that matter most! And to give you some incentive in exchange for your thoughts, I’ll give you a shot at winning some free stuff (because, why not?)

The Contest

“What do you want me to write about?”

My articles are constantly informed by the thoughts and ideas of my readers. Today is your chance to tell me what you’d like to see me research and write about in the foreseeable future. In the comments section below, tell me one topic you’d like to see covered, or one question you’d like to see answered, or the title of one blog post that just has to be written. I’m leaving this fairly open ended. No idea is too small or big.

A winner will be chosen at random. Agreeing with other people is allowed (and encouraged), but only the idea comments will be counted for drawing purposes.

The Prize

A PRIMAL KITCHEN™ prize package containing the following:

1 Jar of Original Mayo

1 Jar of Chipotle Lime Mayo

6-Pack of Dark Chocolate Almond Bars

1 Bottle of the new Extra Virgin Avocado Oil

1 Bottle of Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

1 Bottle of Greek Vinaigrette

The Deadline

Midnight (PDT), tonight!

Who’s Eligible

Everyone. We’ll ship this prize package anywhere in the world!

Thanks in advance to everyone that offers an idea. I’ll see what I can do to give you what you want as we unveil the newest version of Mark’s Daily Apple!

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