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