My longest run to date was a 10-miler last Saturday. It felt fine despite the fact that I was running on 5 hours of sleep and did not have time to drink my morning coffee.
My longest solo run was 5 miles. To be honest, 5 miles doesn't feel very different from 4 miles. My favorite 5-mi path so far is a round trip from home up Ohlone Greenway to Solano Ave. I take the first couple of miles one at a time with 1-min walk/stretch break in between, then run the last 3 miles nonstop. The only two traffic light intersections to worry about are at University Ave. and Marin Ave.
I'm pushing my body to new limits, yes, but I also never thought I'd be able to mentally sustain myself for an hour of solo running. A friend recommended to me that I let my my mind wander during these solo runs. On the contrary, I found that I enjoy focusing my thoughts like on things like...
Am I propelling my body forward with each arm swing?
Am I breathing through my nose or my mouth? What feels better right now? How many strides do I take with each breath? Big breaths or small breaths?
Are my fists clenched? Unclench 'em. Are my shoulders tight and bunched? Drop 'em.
4. All in Good Stride.
Downhill = small steps, first mile = small steps, traffic light turning red! = big steps!, Do I feel it in my calf muscle right now? My hamstrings? Gluts? How's my posture?
5. Keep it Up.
I love my knees; I wanna keep my knees in good condition. Run with an upwards motion, not downwards. Keep it light. Keep my knees up.
Still creaky, keep it slow. Mid-run, change it up: speed up, slow down. End of run = balls out!
...Oh how I love it when I break a sweat. Especially when it's all drippy and nasty. Mmm.
It feels so good to think only of these things. If any other thoughts enter my brain, I zap it out quick with one of these thoughts. These 1-2 hour runs are my present to myself -- the one time in the day that I allow myself to not do or think of the daily pressures. No wonder I look forward to these runs so much.