When you hit a mental wall, knowing how to push yourself when running can keep you moving forward to complete your workout with pride.
Mental roadblocks can affect even the most seasoned of runners. If you've ever felt like you've hit a brick wall and cannot possibly take one more step in the middle of a running workout, then you know just how difficult it can be to overcome this feeling. Whether it's pure boredom, self-doubt, or something else causing your struggles—knowing how to push yourself when you start to feel this way can make all the difference.
- 1 Create a Motivating Playlist
- 2 Start Running With A Friend or Group
- 3 “Break Down” Your Run into Segments
- 4 Repeat Positive Affirmations
- 5 Visualize Your Accomplishment
- 6 Make Plans to Treat Yourself
- 7 The Final Word on How to Push Yourself When Running
- 8 FAQs About How to Push Yourself When Running
- 9 Author
Create a Motivating Playlist
If you're not already listening to music while you run, you could really be missing out. Specifically, listening to music can help to alleviate boredom while you workout—and sticking to songs with higher tempos has even been scientifically proven in at least one study to reduce perceived effort during exercise.
Now may be a great time, then, to create a custom playlist that you can listen to specifically while you run. Try to stick to upbeat and high-tempo songs for the best results. However, some runners also find that they're just as content listening to their favorite podcasts and/or audiobooks to break up the boredom.
Start Running With A Friend or Group
Sometimes, running can be lonely—and when you're already mentally struggling to complete a run, the temptation to throw in the towel can be even greater when you're by yourself.
If you find that you have a hard time staying motivated during your runs, consider running with a friend or even joining a local running group instead. Running with even one other person can be a great way to keep yourself motivated and accountable. After all, you'll be much less likely to quit in the middle of a run if you know that the rest of your group will continue on without you.
“Break Down” Your Run into Segments
If you often find yourself feeling intimidated by the sheer number of miles left in your run, then this strategy can be a great way to push yourself farther by making things feel a little more manageable.
Specifically, breaking down your running path mentally into smaller sections or segments can go a long way. For example, if you know you have a planned nine-mile run ahead of you, you might try looking at your journey as a series of shorter three-mile runs. That way, each time you complete an individual segment of your run, you'll feel accomplished and a little more motivated to continue on.
Repeat Positive Affirmations
As cheesy as this may sound, taking some time to write down positive affirmations for yourself before your run can go a long way. From there, when you're struggling to push yourself farther during your run, you can recall some of these mantras and repeat them to yourself word for word.
Repeating positive affirmations while you run is also a great way to “drown out” any negative thoughts you may be having. For example, if you're beginning to focus too much on how sore your legs feel, you might start repeating the mantra “I can keep going” to push yourself harder.
Visualize Your Accomplishment
A lot of runners find success in actually visualizing their goals being accomplished. Whether you envision a short-term goal (such as completing your current run) or a long-term goal (like crossing the finish line after running a half-marathon), actually visualizing yourself achieving a goal can give you the motivation you need to keep going.
If you've accomplished things that you struggled with mentally in the past, this can also be a good time to visualize those accomplishments.
Make Plans to Treat Yourself
Knowing that you have something to look forward to once you finish your run can give you the motivation and energy you need to push on. If you know that you're going to struggle with a particular run for whatever reason, then, it's a good idea to make plans ahead of time to indulge in something special after your workout is complete.
Some examples of rewards to “treat yourself” with may include a soak in a hot bubble bath, going shopping for a new outfit, or even spending some quality time with friends. Just try to keep things as healthy as possible; this means you may want to avoid “rewarding” yourself with unhealthy treats that may undo your progress or make you feel worse.
The Final Word on How to Push Yourself When Running
Every runner hits mental roadblocks from time to time. When this happens to you, the key is to have some tools in your back pocket that you can pull out and use to push yourself through your workout so you don't give up.
Of course, if you do give up in the middle of a run, it's important to understand that this does not make you a failure. It just means that the next time you lace up your running shoes, you'll want to be prepared to push yourself even harder. From there, you can break through those mental roadblocks and complete your workout with pride.
FAQs About How to Push Yourself When Running
How do you run without hurting yourself?
First, it's important to understand the difference between pushing yourself to your limit and pushing yourself past your limit during a run. You should never push yourself to the point of causing an injury. Meanwhile, you can reduce your risk of injury while running by taking the time to properly stretch and warm-up before you exercise, as well as by staying hydrated.
How can I run longer without getting tired?
Running for longer distances without getting tired will require you to work on your endurance and stamina. Many of the tips from this article can help with mental stamina, but increasing your physical endurance may require additional strength training and properly fueling your body with foods that are high in carbohydrates and healthy fats before a run.