5 Ways to Keep Going . . .

. . . When the Going Gets Tough

I shared my admiration for runners who are able to quit on their planned training runs. Sounds weird, huh? But sometimes you really should, and I have real trouble with that. But sometimes you need to push through the bad runs, too.

I’m pretty sure I’ve shared these tips before, but I’m not sure I’ve shared them in a formal post (or maybe I did, but I don’t remember it), so here goes.

So here are five tips for pushing through a run when you really don’t want to for today’s Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run.


I do it often on my runs — not necessarily because I feel like smiling, but because smiling makes you feel better.

Go into the bathroom. Look at yourself. Now smile. Don’t you feel better?

Sometimes I’m smiling in race photos because I am truly having a great race. Sometimes the smile is forced. But it works. As they say, a smile is just a frown upside down. Or is that a frown is a smile upside down?

Repeat a mantra
You may feel that mantras are too hippy dippy or touchy feely, but at the very least, they distract you from whatever has got you hating your run.

The power of positive thinking, people!

I’m a beast in the heat

Dig deep

Start strong, finish stronger

No excuses, finish

I run for chocolate ice cream. That ought to be on a tshirt!

Think about what you’re going to eat after your run
Coco @ Running with Perseverance and I were just discussing this on her post Fearing Fear Itself. One of her questions at the end of the post was whether or not you planned out your recovery meal while running.

I one upped her: I often plan it the day before! Or in the case of the ice cream I had last week, I’d been trying to figure out how to work that one in for weeks.

Eat something!
Sometimes you just need a little carb boost mid run. Not on your short runs, but on your LSD (long, slow distance runs). It’s really tempting to not eat anything so maybe you could burn off a little extra jiggle, and sometimes I do a fasted LSD (when they’re on the shorter side).

Sometimes you really do need those carbs, though.

Count steps
This only happens on really, really, really bad runs. Thankfully, I think it’s been a few years since I’ve had to resort to this.

It’s a variation of the “I’ll hop on the treadmill for 10 minutes and if I’m not feeling it, I’ll stop“. Once I’m going for 10 minutes, I’m usually good to go.

So if I’m totally hating my run but I don’t want to bail (and I never bail, so far, anyway), I’ll count 10 steps. And then do it again. And again and again . . . basically, I just have to keep going for the next 10 steps.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Do you have a favorite mantra?

Are you more likely to bail on a run in the summer or winter?

What’s your favorite tip to keep going?

32 thoughts on “5 Ways to Keep Going . . .

  1. I almost always finish what I start. Almost. There’ve been times I know nothing good will come from going on. I definitely count steps sometimes. And there’ve definitely been times I could’ve used something to eat…like last week….I totally blew myself up on that 15 miler.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have bailed on runs to finish on the treadmill (not this year so far, though).

      Right now I’m doing about 2 x week outside, 2 x week inside, just because of what’s going on in my life.


  2. The only time I’ve bailed on a run is when I have been injured and I don’t actually think that’s bailing. I do sometimes run on the treadmill rather than outside if my tummy is acting up or it’s too hot or Greg doesn’t feel like going.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I plan to run I usually go and do it. But that’s not saying I don’t alter my plan when I get there. Sometimes I feel bad but then I have to keep in mind that it’s only a training run and if i’m not feeling it (due to injury, heat, etc), there is no sense in killing myself for it. Okay, I know that just made me sound weak…lol but I never claimed to be a hard core runner..lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it’s too hot, I stick to the treadmill. But sometimes you just gotta run in the heat, too (I’ve had too many hot halfs).

      I don’t think it makes you sound weak at all, and I’m not really sure I’d call myself a hard core runner, either.


  4. Amazing. I feel like a slacker. I have bailed many times. If I don’t feel like it,I don’t go or if I feel like crap, I quit. To me it’s only one run. There will be others. Plus as you know, I don’t have a hard and fast plan. I don’t beat myself up if I skip long runs or weekday runs.

    Of course, I almost always eat after a run. That’s why I park at Stewarts or Leah’s. I don’t eat during a run unless it’s over 4 miles which I haven’t done in a month.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That was paid for and I felt fine. I am tougher when I ran. The competition in me surfaces. Doesn’t happen on training runs.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Today it was smores cookies. 🙂 And nut butter filled clif bar, and a chocolate zucchini muffin. .. I don’t think 8 miles really qualifies for all that. Oh well (I didn’t eat the entire clif since I also had the muffin at least).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great reminders. I often plan my recovery meal especially if it is a long run. Thinking about food gets me though the tough parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish I read this post before my tough morning run! I did use my mantra of “dig deep” a couple of times and it helped. I did realize that I didn’t fuel and that may have caused my fatigue. I’ll have to try smiling when I’m pushing up all these crazy hills!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually did run fasted this week — for 8 miles. The weather was much kinder to us this week than last — I’d intended to run fasted last week, but I needed SOMETHING.

      Although I think I more than made up for it in my “recovery”. Oh well!


  7. I’ve definitely bailed once, about 20 m from my front door! I was just too tired and it was late☺️ But generally once I’m out the door I’ll get it done one way or another. Counting steps is good for me. Stops my mind wandering because that might make me slow to a walk and makes me focus on the actual running!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Neat tips. I do use a variety of mantras and often count steps! As a rabid counted cross-stitcher, I find that I am always counting. Also counting seconds for stretches and yoga poses, so counting steps comes naturally.

    My husband claims that runners never smile. Wrong!

    Ah, thinking about what you are going to eat. That has possibilities!

    Liked by 1 person

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