Q&A post 4: Runners block and staying motivated

Peterson ridge 60K

Running questions are popular!  Thanks for submitting this question.  I believe that so many of us struggle with these thoughts before or during a run/jog.  Especially when we are just getting started with running in general, but thoughts like these are not reserved for only the beginner.  Oh no, we all get these thoughts.  Good insight.  Here is your question:

“I have some sort of mental thing going where — WHILE I’m jogging — I’m talking myself out of doing it. Did that ever happen to you – how do you stay motivated during the run/jog?”

I am going to answer this question in two very different ways.  One answer will be from the “I am just starting running” view point where there may be no confidence and the other answer will be from the “ultra runner” view point where you talk yourself into keeping on even though it hurts.

  • When I first started running, I did try and talk myself out of doing it.  Sometimes I succeed other times I didn’t.  So much of that “internal conversation” was due to the discomfort that I experienced physically.  This discomfort then brought about that “internal conversation” where I told myself, “See, I am not in good enough shape to do this.  I can’t do this. It is not supposed to feel like this is it.”  This is especially true on a treadmill, track, or other venue that uses loops.  Every time you get to the start you want to stop.  On a treadmill, you are so close to comfort that it is also easy to talk yourself into stopping.  (Nothing against treadmills by the way.  I like them)  The best way to overcome this sort of situation is walking.  Let’s say you are getting ready to go for a jog.  Prepare yourself ahead of time (you already know that you will probably try and talk yourself out of it) for the moment you talk to yourself, and decide before hand that you will tell yourself, “Hey, I can always just walk.  I am getting out there and if I can’t or really don’t feel like running, I will walk.”  This change it all for me.  I realized that staying out there longer burned more fat, and that if I was going to talk myself into stopping, I should just walk until I felt better instead and in turn burn more fat.
  • From the ultra running perspective, you absolutely must prepare yourself for this “internal conversation”.  It is going to happen no matter how good of a runner you are and no matter how fit you are.  There will come a point that you want to quit, a point where it hurts to much, a point where you think you made a huge mistake by trying to run that far.  What did I do.  I told myself again, “Ok, I am just going to walk.  Then I will just make it to the next tree, and then the next tree, etc.”  That is how you do it.  After a while you just learn that you can keep going regardless of your feelings.
  • I stayed motivated during a run by running in a place I like to be or with a person I like to be with (my wife).  Sometimes I use music when I run, but I never do for my long runs because I just want the run to be a run.  I stay motivated also by thinking about my goal that I am training for and by thinking about how much better I feel while running now as compared to when I started.  It does get easier.

5 Responses to “Q&A post 4: Runners block and staying motivated”

  1. January 2, 2009 at 10:28 am

    That’s a great post. I’ve been running for a short while, but I’m noticing a pattern for sure. I just posted about it on my blog the other day when I ran 5K nonstop for the first time. I’m a whiner at the beginning and try to talk myself out of it. Then I get in a groove and feel good. Then I start trying to talk myself out of it towards the end (oh, that’s good enough, etc.) And then when I finish, I feel like I’ve just warmed up and want to keep going. I guess one day I’ll figure out what my limit is. 😀

    • 2 run4change
      January 2, 2009 at 10:31 am

      Oh it does take time to learn about our new running bodies. unfortunately for me, i have to go for a darn hour before I feel good and smooth

  2. 3 thistimeimeanit
    January 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    THANK YOU for this post! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

    • 4 run4change
      January 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm

      You are so welcome. I am glad that it was enjoyable as well as helpful. Your comment lets me know that I am achieving my goal of helping people and inspiring them while at the same time growing myself. Thank you so much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: