The Mental Run #1


When the going gets tough, the tough … continue running. How do you cope with a hard, overwhelming run? I’m no expert, and I have had my share of terrible runs. But from those runs, I’ve started to sort out what works for me and what doesn’t.

Running Brain

Why #1?

  1. I plan to add to this as the runs get further and harder
  2. I want your input for the next one!

 Just get to the end

This is what I call the ‘don’t stop challenge’. No matter what, you will finish that workout. And you probably want to get it over with faster, rather than slower. Sure, you can walk if you want to, you have the go the entire hour/10km/30 mins anyway.

But why walk in the heat/with a blister/on sore legs/feeling down when you can just run it?

Tell yourself you can do it however you want, but you have to complete the workout. It might turn out better than you expect!

*Naturally this is terrible advice if you’re actually sick or injured – get thyself back to bed if that’s the case!

I don't stop when I'm tired, I stop when I'm done

Break it up

When I was little, and one of my textas was running out, I would divide my colouring into sections. So, if I were colouring in a big tree, and my brown texta was dying, I would divide the trunk into little triangles, colouring each triangle. It didn’t give the texta any more ink, but it gave me more direction, and it made the tree trunk look better, instead of just randomly faded.

The same applies to running. If it’s a really hard one, try giving yourself ‘compartments’. If you have 45 mins to go, tell yourself you can make it to 30 and then it will be easier. Or, in 15 minutes you can turn around for your next lap. Same goes for distances. Don’t think about the end, think about the next milestone.


Think positive, run positive

It’s all about attitude, and, deep down, you know it. To run well, you have to be confident you can run well. Unless it’s your first run – ever – you’ve done this distance or a similar distance before.  Remind yourself that you can do it – you’ve done it before. If it’s starting to feel hard with 10km to go, just remember that you’ve run 10km before. Easily. So now is no different. It might not feel great, but you’re perfectly capable of doing it, so do it.

Positive affirmations can help too :-)

. Don’t let the excuses (rational or not!) win. Whatever it takes, tell yourself what you need to hear.

‘I am strong’

‘I can do this’

‘This is easy’

Even just smiling as you go!


Forget about the running

Move outside of yourself. Check out the view, perve on other runners. Be critical! Think about a time and a place that makes you happy. Think about the amazing shower and meal you’ll have when you get home.

Remind yourself why you are running – picture that finish line, the smaller dress, the reward.

When all else fails, hold on to something you trust. It might be someone you love, or a particular saying. If I really can’t forget about the running, I go back to step 1.


Slow Down

Running is supposed to be fun. It’s why most of us do it. As soon as it isn’t fun, something is wrong. And if you’re feeling like it’s too hard from the beginning, it might be time to take it a bit easier.

Is it warmer than usual? Are you unwell? Have you not had a proper warm-up? Ease into it and find a comfortable level. You don’t need a PR every time. Run for the sake of running, and have fun!

Slow is not bad!

Your Turn!

What are your tricks and tips for a difficult run?


Want More?

Here are more workout tips and tricks to get you started.

Top 10 tips for becoming a (better) long distance runner

What they don’t tell you before training for a marathon

What they don’t tell you before training for a marathon #2

5 ways to get the most out of your gym session



  1. I have really been working on listening to my body and learning the difference between this run sucks push through it and ouch, I’m hurt.
    On the sucky runs I try to remind myself of how awesome I will feel when I complete it all as opposed to how sucky I feel when I stop short. Then I crank a really cheesy song and belt it out (badly).
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted Marathon Training Update VlogMy Profile

    • Kate says:

      Love the thought of you belting one out while you run! I tried that once, while running with Rake. He was NOT impressed (possibly because he was doubled over and unable to speak, let alone sing…)

  2. blackhat says:

    Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my blog something like that. Can I take a fragment of your post to my blog?

  3. Great tips! Breaking a run into more manageable chunks really helps me cause you can do anything more a mile or two, right? :)
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted "Where is ZOOMA going next?" GiveawayMy Profile

  4. You are spot on- there is so much of a mental component to running. The positive messages and learning how to push through those tough runs can really pay off in helping us become stronger runners. Great post!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted A running break and my fall race calendarMy Profile

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