We’ve all been there — tired, beaten down, heavy legs and many more miles to go. There is still hope :) Assuming you’re following a plan and moving up in mileage the right way, developing mental strength will help you push through when things are tough. These are five strategies I use to stay mentally strong and keep moving forward:
1. Develop a running mantra. It’s a personal motivation, but say the thing to yourself to motivate you to keep going. Feel free to ask other runners what they say to themselves :) I’ve heard everything from “You Can Do This” to “I will survive” to “I will be thin” to “Keep Moving Forward” to “Harden The F*#?” Up.”
2. Stay focused on smaller goals. If you’re running 10 miles (or more) just focus on getting through the mile you’re on. When you finish, focus on that next mile. Usually, you’ll find some miles will go easy, so you just need to get through the tough ones! Each one will get you closer and soon enough you’ll be done
3. The out and back course. I make it hard to get back to my house/car. I had a friend that never finished his long run because he ran 2 mile loops that passed his house. If you’re pushing the distance, you should get tired…it’s better for me if I know I need to go another few miles to get home
4. Distract yourself. Many find listening to music an easy way to be “distracted” when running. Others count trees/people/mailboxes. I let my mind clear and just keep moving forward. Endurance running can be easier when not focused on every step, every muscle, and every movement. Side note here: even if you are distracted, be sure to maintain good form.
5. A change of scenery. Run the same route all the time? Try a different trail or go down different streets. I’ll sometimes run a half marathon route ahead of time or drive to a different starting point on my usual trail.
Those are my big ones – Any others we should add to the list? Please comment below if you have a specific strategy on staying mentally strong.