As runners, we all reach a point where we want to call it quits and just stop whatever workout we’re doing – many of us experience this a few times during one run. But, to me, what separates the “real” runners is the ability to keep going through those moments. Nothing in life worth doing is easy, and running any distance is the same way.
I’ve found myself at this point more often than not since I’ve started running consistently. Regardless of the reason, I’ve wanted to hop off the treadmill or slow to a walk just because I didn’t want to keep going anymore.
If you find yourself hitting a wall while on a run, try some of these to get the flow back.
1. Listen to one of your favorite songs.
I find that when I’m running and one of my favorite songs comes on, I find the motivation to keep going, or to run even faster while that song is on. One of my motivators is Defying Gravity from the Broadway show Wicked.
2. Focus on your breathing.
Have you ever developed that nasty side stitch or pain only on one side of the body? You could be breathing incorrectly. Try to alternate your exhales by counting while you inhale. Depending on my pace, I’ll inhale for 6 footfalls, and exhale for 5. The trick is to have one of the numbers be an odd number so you end up exhaling on your right and then your left.
If you’re experiencing a stitch on your left side, try only exhaling on the right for a few times. I find this alleviates my stitches – at least until I forget about my breathing.
3. Visualize what motivates you.
During workouts when I just can’t possibly move my feet forward anymore, I think about why I’m out there in the first place. Most of the time I picture my fiance’ cheering for me as I cross a finish line and that will get me going. Other times I think about a PR I want to achieve or a race that I want to complete. Whatever it is, think about that as you put one foot in front of the other.
Struggling is completely normal while running. The important thing to remember is you walked out of the door or stepped on the treadmill. You’re still better than all those people who are still sitting on the couch.