Monday, May 14, 2018

Get Yourself Through a Hard Run

Not every run can feel amazing. We all have to deal with the runs that we feel sluggish or our legs feeling like lead.  But when these runs happen, we need to remember to stay positive! Sometimes we go through a phase where for whatever reason, we have several days like this in a row.  The most important thing to tell yourself when this happens is don't give up!!

The other day I went out for an evening run. I had a speed workout on the schedule and I knew it was going to be tough.  I started out feeling pretty strong considering it was hot and I was tired from the day. I hit pace every interval for the first half.


Once I got to the second half, though, I was wearing down and getting tired. I struggled to hit the rest of my paces.  There's a street that I sometimes run on that has a sign with motivational quotes on it. The other day I ran past and saw this quote by Ben Franklin "Doing your best means you never stop trying". So I kept going. I didn't give up because those workouts are the ones that make us stronger mentally and physically.

When you take all those hard runs and push through them, they add a lot of points to your fitness bank account. No one ever gets better by just running easy, good runs. The challenging runs are the runs that change us.

So next time you're out on a hard run and you're considering cutting it short (assuming you're not cutting it short due to injury or sickness), here are some things to help you push through the run.



- Think about the goal you had when you started running.  I almost always have a race that I'm working towards when I'm running. And when I have a race, I usually have a goal for that race. It could be a time, or to finish a certain distance, or to do better than I did last time I ran it etc. This helps me put things in perspective. Some runs are hard but if I get through this run, I'll be stronger on race day.

- Distract yourself. Make sure you're still paying attention to your pace and your surroundings! But distract your mind with some music, an audiobook or podcast, running with a friend, or even just thinking of other things. If you're running with headphones, just make sure you're still able to hear and be aware of the things around you.

- Break it up into smaller groups.  When you can see the progress it gets easier to keep going. For example, my workout the other night was broken up into 3 sets of intervals. Each set had 2-3 intervals each with recovery in between. So once I got done with a set my brain automatically said "only 2 more sets" instead of saying "I still have 6 more intervals".

- Bribe yourself with a reward when you get done. I love having oranges when I get done running, so I made sure to save my orange for after my run instead of having it earlier in the day. Also, it's summer so I wouldn't feel bad about bribing myself with a popsicle once I finish. But it doesn't have to be food. When you start to think of how hard it is, think of the time you get to spend after your run relaxing while you watch your favorite show, or how good showering is going to feel. Focus on that for a little while to get you through your run.

-Remind yourself that the faster you run the faster you'll be done. That might even get you to push your pace even more.


What do you do to get yourself to finish your hard runs?

20 comments:

  1. My long run yesterday was hard.

    Here's how I got it done-

    I think of why I'm out there. I also think about when I was injured and couldn't run. Lastly, I put aside all goals for the run and just finish even if it means a lot of walking.

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    1. Good job! I also remind myself of all the times I haven't been able to run and wanted to. I also love that when you have a hard run you change your goal to just getting it done!

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  2. hehe, I'm all about the distractions, internal pep talks and bribing myself! Great tips! :]

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    1. distractions can be such a huge help! Have a great day Farrah.

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  3. The other day, I went out for a run, my garmin watch died 1.5 km from home, and I used that as an excuse to turn around and cut my run short! Pathetic. I've had to pep talk myself back to running. Maybe if I had changed things up instead, like ran intervals, or followed some of your tips here, I wouldn't have quit so easily!

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    1. Haha, yep. I've had runs like that. The smallest excuse and I will justify it. But I always kick myself after for it. I like that you thought of changing things up to help you through though, next time!

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  4. These are really good tips. When I'm struggling with a run, I start to use run/walk intervals or I think about the yummy meal I'll have after I finish my run, LOL

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    1. I've had to do run walk intervals before. That works for me pretty well if I know that I'll push myself really hard during the running intervals. And food is always a good bribe for me. Especially if its donuts or ice cream. haha

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  5. Great tips getting through a long run, I struggle mentally a lot even though I know my body can handle it.

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    1. I think that happens a lot. I hope you can use some of these to push yourself even though it’s hard!

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  6. Great tips! I've had a handful of hard runs this last month but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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  7. Some runs are tough to get through mentally for sure. I often bribe myself with little things it helps!

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  8. Getting through a tough run builds mental toughness, that's for sure. These are great ideas!

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  9. Bribery and bargaining always work for me. Breaking things up also helps make it more manageable. These are great for anyone who is struggling. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Ah, I love the reminder that it's the challenging runs that change us. I had a tough run this weekend with the humidity, but kept myself going with the thought of cool air conditioning waiting for me at home. Plus, it would only take me longer to finish if I walked!

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  11. I use that mantra a lot. But I also remind myself of how bad I'll feel if I quit. That usually does it.

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  12. All of these tricks are awesome, and I think I've used all of them at one time or another LOL I especially go with the "break up into smaller groups" method most often, though. FOR me, it's a lot easier to do a few groups rather than a bunch of individual drills.

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  13. great advice! I'm definitely of the "break things up into smaller chunks" party. and it may sound weird but honestly, depending on the interval or even just part of the long run I will fixate on something in the distance. "Just get to that 4th tree" "Just get to that lamppost" "Just a little bit further to the chinese restaurant on the corner". And, this one may sound odd, but I also count. I will count in my head all the way up to the next kilometer. And that usually distracts me enough from whatever I'm feeling (about quitting) because I often lose count and have to start over again :)

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  14. This is great advice. I constantly tell myself these 60 minutes are going to pass one way or another. I can either give it all I got or regret it.

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  15. Not every run is going to be easy, and if every one was, then you'd find yourself improving very little. I too break hard long runs up mentally, creating some milestones for myself. It definitely helps.

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