Five ways to keep boredom at bay
Making it through a 60-mile bike ride is a feat deserving of a margarita (or two). Adding a swim before that, and a fast 45-minute run after will take it to a whole other level.
You may think these fantastically masochistic routines will cause enough tedium to send you straight up a wall. Okay, yes, it does happen -- we've all had episodes where we're singing "Eye of the Tiger" in our heads 152 times. But for the most part, if you keep the following in mind, you'll also keep boredom at bay:
• Add just the right bit of company: Working out with good peeps with good attitudes is akin to holding a party without booze: if you've invited the best company, the party seems to take care of itself. When you're on mile 74 of that bike ride, it helps to have a bud to look to and say, "So, how many saddle sores do you have?"
• Intervals: Plain and simple, you gotta have them. Especially if you're out there alone. Run at race pace for 10 minutes, then take a slow jog for 10 minutes. Repeat four more times. Have intervals for your pool swims and your bike rides, too. These will noticeably improve your fitness, and you don't have to be out there as long. Deeelish. We love multi-tasking.
• Tunes: The Black Eyed Peas, AC/DC, or Madonna ... whatever sound gets your juices moving, use it. Heck, I've been on a 12-mile climb up a steep mountain when Muddy Waters and B.B. King came on. Those switchbacks have never heard such great singing.
• Get good grub: Food is as critical as the company. Bring some good nutrition (liquid and solid) out on the trail, road or pool deck with you. If anything, it's your reason to stop and say "I have to fuel up." Nobody will question you on that one. (Well, they might, if only to ask, "Why now?")
• Remember why you're doing it: Boredom implies you don't have anything to do, and if you're outside on your bike, or logging miles in the ocean, or in your running shoes, you've already made a voluntary decision to play. There are also a trillion special causes you can sign up for, so your training and racing means something beyond sport. It will be much harder to quit a long run if you're doing it for a cause that's important to you.