Sunday, February 5, 2017

Helpful Tips For When Your Run Gets TOUGH

As runners, we've all experienced the run we'll never forget.  
We've also all experienced the run we'd like to forget.   


How we handle the tough runs 
can make or break us as runners.




The light in the picture above was exactly as you see it.  It was 7:30 am and 7 degrees on this dreary and blustery Minnesota morning.  I was approaching mile 10 of my long run and was willing my legs to finish.

Throughout the entire run, thoughts of quitting swirled in my brain.  I wrestled with calling it a day.  It was bitterly cold.  It was ferociously windy.  My legs were toast.

But, somehow,  I remembered that I had the strength to finish this run.  I could do it.

Thankfully, I did finish this run and I'm not going to lie... It was TOUGH.

Here's what I do to get me through the tough runs.

GIVE YOURSELF A PEP TALK

The squirrels and bunnies have probably heard me talking to myself.  Sometimes even yelling at myself.  "Just a little further, Gina."  "You got this Gina. "  "Only a few more miles, Gina."  Seriously, give yourself a pep talk.   Only YOU know what motivates you.  You are your biggest cheerleader.  Don't be shy - give it a try.  I bet you'll be surprised at just how motivating you can be!

SET SMALL GOALS 

Sometimes when the going gets tough, I need to focus my energy on small goals.    I tell myself, just finish this next mile, or even this next block.  More often than not, I am able to keep myself afloat just by compartmentalizing the task ahead.

ENJOY THE BEAUTY AROUND YOU

So often, we are so focused on what is in front of us, we fail to look around us when we run.   I often look straight forward or toward the ground.  Consequently,  I miss all the beauty around me.  I've found that if I focus my attention on the sights and sounds of my run,  I often forget that I'm actually running.  My breathing becomes more controlled and my mind focuses on the beauty around me rather than the pounding of my feet against the pavement.  

Take a moment, smell the roses as they say, and take it all in.  I know you'll forget about the pain, if even for a second. 

EXHALE IN AND OUT SLOWLY

Breath in and out slowly through your nose.  When I take the time to slowly inhale and exhale through my nose, the run feels easier.   I make sure to try and fill my diaphragm as much as possible. When we are running, our body uses all the available oxygen it has to fuel our muscles.  If we don't bring in adequate oxygen while we are running,  it is easier to fatigue - which then makes the run that much harder.  Focused breathing centers my thoughts so I can concentrate that much more on my running.  

GRAB YOUR FAVORITE RUNNING FRIEND

Now, this only works if you know ahead of time you're facing a tough run.  But, friends really do make everything better.  Misery loves company.   If you have a great friend by your side, runs seem easier.  Besides, a friend is more fun to complain to than the bunnies and the squirrels. 

Tweet: How do YOU handle tough runs? Here are my tips for when the going gets TOUGH! @hanzelboyzmama #runner #bibchat

30 comments:

  1. I also like to remind myself that these tough miles will pay off with a good run or race in the future. I've been running a long time and I know that bad runs happen. Sometimes is tough to push through them, but I rarely quit on a run. Great tips!

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    1. It does usually come full circle with good and bad runs doesn't it! ;)

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  2. All great tips, especially the small goals one. I find that setting smaller, stepping stone goals, helps me to stay focused on reaching those larger, big picture goals.

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    1. Sometimes it's even just getting to the end of the block!

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  3. I was really nervous about my long run last week.
    My goal was 10 and I made it 11! I ran without head phones to listen to the birds chirping and enjoy nature for almost half of my run. I was so excited I made it past my goal. Thank you for sharing your tips!

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  4. Focusing on the scenery is a big one for me! Except when it's not scenic, LOL!

    I knew Sunday's run was going to be tough (although thankfully only 8 miles). So I spent some time in the car thinking about my why before I got out . . . then just doing it. :)

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    1. That's a good one! THinking about your why - awesome Judy.

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  5. I love these tips! Running with friends always helps me, and those small goals usually keep me running.

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    1. Thanks! I love my running friends! Friends for life for sure!

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  6. Those tough runs build character! Way to dig deep! I just try to focus on one km at a time when my runs get really hard or whatever is waiting me at the end of my run - be it my kids/husband, the rest of the day or a sweet treat :)

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    1. That's true. When you're done you feel fantastic and no guilt!

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  7. I am not a runner but these tips are helpful for me getting through this long, cold winter!

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    1. I suppose they WOULD work for most things in life that are hard! :) even the breathing. I often have to put myself in timeout and breath, just to not explode someday. lol

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  8. These are the runs I remember when I'm standing at the starting line of a goal race. Pushing through the tough ones build that mental toughness that pays off in spades. Great tips!

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  9. Sometimes I just need a change up like a new class or a break from running and then I miss it and go back

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  10. All good tips! I had a really tough run this weekend and used a lot of self pep talks to get me through it.

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  11. The pep talk helps. Unless it doesn't. Lol. But it usually does!

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  12. I use the "Set small goals" all the time when I'm running and really don't want to be. I'll tell myself just run hard til that tree, or garbage can, mailbox anything really. It's the little things that occupy your mind.

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  13. I constantly talk to myself when runs get hard. I will also try changing up the music (a podcast or a musical gives me something on which to focus so I can take my mind off what's going on with my running). Having a friend is a great way for motivation, but it's a double edged sword because then I don't like running alone. Boo.

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  14. As we all know, the bad runs are gonna happen. Although I don't enjoy them any more than anyone else, I do breathe a thankful breath (or several) when I finish and think to myself, "Whew! Glad that's over!" (because I also know there will probably be a great run in the near future)

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  15. Great tips! I had a tough run last weekend, but for different reasons. I definitely find that it helps to focus on what is around me and appreciate being outside!

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  16. Great tips. I remind myself that I'm out running because I choose to be, and am lucky to be out there!

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  17. Good tips. I definitely use the "focus on small goals" one when I'm not feeling it that day. It always helps.

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  18. I think setting small goals is so important. It helps make the larger goals more attainable

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