When you start thinking too much about your run, your brain is likely to convince you that you’re too tired to go anymore. If you can get past that mental block, your body can often keep going. Don’t push yourself too hard or you could overdo it. But if you just need a little motivation to finish a run you know you can handle, try one of this running motivation tips.
I find running with music very motivational. The beat and the lyrics keep me going. Try picking some songs for your running playlist that really motivate you. Arrange your playlist so the most motivational songs come on at the point in your workout when you usually start to get tired.
I find when I’m really tired, I can sometimes make the running time go faster when I really focus on the music. I think about the lyrics and try to feel the beat. It helps push out the thoughts of being tired or wanting to walk. Sometimes I even mouth the lyrics of the song. Actually singing might wear you out more since you’re already short of breath, but mouthing the words helps me focus more on the song than my tired legs.
Another distraction method I use is doing math problems in my head. I start adding numbers. For example, I start with 1 + 1 = 2. Then 2 + 2 = 4. And so on. I get as high as I can. At first it is easy, but it starts getting more difficult the higher you get. That forces you to focus more on the numbers than on your running.
You can challenge yourself with other thinking problems as well. You might try to think of a word for each letter of the alphabet. Or think of as many animals as you can. The point is to get yourself thinking about something else so the running doesn’t seem as difficult.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
Your breathing is a big part of how you feel when you run. Paying attention to how you are breathing can be a distraction from being tired. It can also help you breathe more efficiently so you can run longer. Keep your breaths controlled as you run. You can also use your breathing to help with pacing. If you’re having difficulty keeping your breath under control, slow your pace a little.
Instead of stopping to walk immediately, push yourself to run to something up ahead. Choose something as far ahead as possible to maximize your running time. If you reach the marker, see if you can push yourself to run a little further to the next object. Keep pushing out the goal.
If your head is telling you you’re tired, talk back. Remind yourself you can keep running. Focus on the discomfort. Is it really that bad? Sometimes some minor discomfort is enough to convince you to stop running. But if you really think about it, your legs don’t hurt that much.
Think about someone you know who is going through a tough time. A little discomfort while running is nothing compared to that. I like to remind myself that I am lucky to be healthy enough that I can run. Other people are not so fortunate. I also remind myself that I can handle anything for a short period of time. The run won’t last forever, but I’ll feel so much better about myself if I stick with it and push through.