Finding the motivation to lace up and get out is one thing. But what if your enthusiasm fades mid-run?
How can you find the momentum to finish what you started? Where do you find the energy to reach the finish line? How do you summon the grit to push on?
Here are five ways to keep running, even when the going gets tough:
- Change the Pace – If your run starts to feel like a slog, your pace could be the cause. If you’re running out of steam, you may have started out too fast. Slow the pace to get your breath back. Then, you might get a second wind. Alternatively, if your run feels like a drag, perhaps you need to spice it up a bit. Why not add some excitement by upping the tempo or mixing in some sprints?
- Break it up – If you’re losing momentum mid-run, the thought of how far you have left to go can break your spirit. Try splitting the distance into smaller, more immediate goals. Tell yourself you just have to reach the end of the road, the next lamppost – or even the next step. Before you know it, you’ll have covered more ground than you thought possible.
- Choose a Mantra – Repeat a short motivational phrase in your head. Let the rhythm of the words carry you. Choose something with a meaning that will empower you. I used ‘longest run almost done’ when I was bumping up my distance during marathon training. That short phrase reminded me what my goal was – and reassured me that the end was in sight.
- Move to the Rhythm – If you run to music, you’ll have noticed how some songs get you feeling pumped up. Use this to your advantage. If your energy starts to dip, play something upbeat to fire you up. If you need inspiration, check out Runner’s World’s list of 32 best running songs. One of them is bound to put the spring back in your step.
- Shift Your Focus – Do you remember long car journeys as a kid? I bet you played games to distract yourself from the boredom. Well, distraction techniques work just as well as a fully-grown runner. If your run becomes wearisome, try shifting your focus to something else. Follow the pattern on the pavement. If you’re racing, read the t-shirt of the runner in front. Plan your next holiday. You’ll be surprised how your feet keep going, even when your mind is elsewhere.
Next time you feel a mid-run slump coming on, give these tips a go to get you back in your stride. You’ll be at the finish line in no time!
A Final Tip – Know When to Quit
It’s OK to push through demotivation. But it’s unwise to press on through pain or illness. If you’re struggling with a run due to injury or sickness, then rest and recovery are always a better choice. That way, you’ll be running strong again much sooner. Know when to call it a day and turn home.