5 More Ways to Keep Going . . .

. . . When the Going Gets Tough

It isn’t always easy to finish what we start. There have definitely been times when I’ve been too tired, in too much pain, too disheartened, too stressed, too hot, too hungry . . .

Here are my first five tips to keep going and below are five more 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.


Use what’s around you
In ZOOMA Annapolis 2015, coming back across that bridge for the second time, I was toast. Done. Finished. Yet I still had almost half the race to finish.

So I told myself that I would run to the next beam, then walk, then run. You can use trees, mail boxes, cars.

I find I generally don’t need to do this so much anymore, since I follow Galloway (loosely) and therefore always have a walking break coming up. Some nice fall days, though, I’ll run a fartlek — usually using trees — in this method, just because I want to; because it’s a good run and it feels good. Works just as well for those bad runs.

Think about anyone but you
I’ve definitely written about this tip before, but we tend to get caught up in everything that is happening to me when we run.

So make it about someone else: a loved one, someone who is ill, someone who can’t run due to injury, someone who’s passed. You can even designate a person to pray for/think about every mile.

Think about what your why
When things go wrong it’s easy to just slip into that negative mindset. Try to remember why you are running: to get in shape, to challenge yourself, to train for a race, to have some me time.

If you’re having a bad race, remember why you chose that particular race in the first place.

Think about your goals
Building on “think about your why”: when it comes to races (or even training runs), it’s good to have goals. Not “a goal”, but multiple goals.

Maybe it’s to get in shape. Maybe it’s to get faster. Maybe it’s to go further. Maybe it’s to be able to run without feeling like your lungs will explode.

Whatever your goal is, think about it when the going gets tough.

Do a body scan
This is something I’ve gotten away from, and I need to do this more often.

Start at your feet. Go up your calves, your thighs and hamstrings, and so on and so forth. Don’t forget to relax your hands, your shoulders, your face.

Practice a little gratitude — for legs that allow you to run, for lungs that take in the oxygen your muscles need, for a heart that circulates your blood to all your muscles and organs.

And while you’re at it, be grateful you can run. It’s a gift.

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

Do you ever thank your body for the ability to run while running?

Do you have goals for each run?

What sort of goals do you have for your runs?

30 thoughts on “5 More Ways to Keep Going . . .

  1. Sometimes my goal is as simple as to just get out and get it done. Other times, it can be a timed goal, a feelings goal, whatever. And yes, I do thank my body during runs some days… other days I curse it, lol! Great post Judy! I like the “think about your why.” I often visualize crossing that finish line at a certain time… it’s never worked, but I often think about it! 😉

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  2. I love this post. I do you, or have used, most of these tips, but it is good to be reminded. Thinking of or praying for another for each mile is wonderful and actually does help in keeping your mind off any current discomfort. Using short-term markers to run to is marvelous and also very helpful. Having had to take a two month sabbatical (one I thought was permanent) makes me very grateful to be back in the running life.

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    1. Going across it the first time was fine. 🙂

      It was that damn water station without cups that did me in — again!

      The body scan is really useful. But of course you have to remember to do it. 🙂


  3. I think I needed this post. Training for Chicago is so hard lately between the weather, time, and just every other excuse I can come up with. I think I need to remember some of these things when I want to skip a run.

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  4. Lately, my goal has been to finish the run. On especially difficult runs, I think of how I will feel when it is over .. more sense of accomplishment/pride … but thinking of the a/c and a shower doesn’t hurt either 🙂

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  5. Great post Judy! I think I’ve used most of these at some time. The body scan works well for me as my muscles are in much better shape than my heart and lungs! So congratulating my legs on being strong and remembering to relax my shoulders is a big help. Thinking about why I run can go either way…… Why am I doing this? WHY am I doing this !!! Etc!!

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      1. Less of the ‘why’ for me since I started the slower running thing. The pressure of running to a training plan and trying to go further or faster was hard and I often felt like I wasn’t getting results, so the ‘why?’ Wasn’t a bad question really!

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      2. I actually enjoy challenging myself — it’s part of why I enjoy racing. I like working hard for something and *maybe* achieving it.

        Despite being a slow runner, I’m very competitive! So yes, sometimes it frustrates me too.


      3. I get my competition and achievements elsewhere. I’d be very sad if I had to depend on running for achievement- it’s never going to happen!

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      4. Well, I’m really only competing with myself. Am I running faster than the last time I did the race? Or last time I did this workout at this time last year?

        Of course it doesn’t always happen, but I still like to try. It might bum me out for a few moments when it doesn’t happen, but ultimately, I’m ok with it.

        Believe me, it’s not like I’m every winning any age group awards! Or even close!


      5. I suppose I do keep one eye on my pace keenly looking for any sign of improvement! But I used to have a training plan on the fridge door where I wrote my results- when they didn’t improve (or I skipped a ru or two) it was too disappointing!

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      6. Improvement isn’t linear. It can take several training cycles, it even take a few years . . . you’ve got to be patient (and of course have other goals as well, something I really need to sit down and think about).

        But you’re happy with what you’re doing — that’s all that counts. There is no “correct” way to exercise, there’s only the correct way for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I have always been fond of running. Especially in the early dawn or right after twilight. The wind against my sweat seems refreshing, and everytime I wish to forget things that bother me.. running helps. It clears my mind. Afterall.. When the going gets tough.. the tough gets going! XD

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