Running can be difficult…Mentally and physically. We all know those people who can run non-stop for no reason at all without even thinking about breathing. Well, not everybody is that kind of person. For some people it is hard to keep running for that extra minute, it is harder to finish out that mile.
I’m not talking physically anymore, now I am talking about the mental aspect. Put your hands up if you are one of those people who could probably run that extra 2 minutes, or even make it to the end of the street for that matter, but for some reason… you just don’t. Yeah, I see you, even if you didn’t put your hand up we are all guilty of this in some shape, way, or form. Now you know, it’s not just you. Everyone hits that wall at some point. The period where you could keep going but your mind throws up a mental block. Except not anymore! Without further a do:
Tips and Tricks to keep Running through your mental block!
1. Rock out to some phresh beats!
There is a lot more to just sticking headphones in your ears while running than people think. Sure, you can just listen to your music, or you can make your music your workout! It is one of the easiest ways to give your run a little make-over. Say you are listening to a three minute song, well instead of just listening to the lyrics, try and run for the length of the entire song. As you run more and more, you can pick longer songs. When I first tried this method I just kept telling myself three minutes was TOO long, then when I actually tried it, because I loved the song I was listening too, and was actually focusing on the song instead of the running, the time flew by!
Now I know not everyone is running for time or length. If you happen to be more of a sprinter (or are just starting out running and run for a shorter amount of time) then break the song up into parts. Choose a song you really love and listen to quite often, one you practically know by heart. Then say you will jog for verse 1 and sprint the length of the chorus, then walk for verse 2 and so on. Or jog for the verses and walk for chorus. Knowing the song keeps the lyrics in your head the entire time you are running, keeping your running out. This helps not over think your breathing and the weird feelings you tend to psych yourself out over, which in turn helps avoid the mental running block. Woohoo! This technique also allows for interval training (psst, that helps burn more calories 😉 ) I have to say, I would advise doing more than one song if you actually want to get a workout out of your run, but everyone has their own level.
2. Run in a more populated area!
Take a route that you know will have more people. This sounds weird, I know. This can go two ways. I understand some people like to run in the woods (myself included) or on back streets so they can purposely avoid people. That has its benefits, on one hand you don’t have to worry about getting in peoples way (or getting hit by cars if you are me), and you can just focus on you. This, however, can be detrimental to some. If you are anything like me, then running alone is CHALLENGING. I find that when I am alone, I am more likely to throw up that mental block. Taking routes with more people and more eyes goes along with the human want to impress. Granted, this may sound strange, but when you run around other people there are more eyes on you. For me, I have discovered that when I run a more populated route I tend to run more because i want to show people that, in fact, I can! Now this might sound cocky or presumptuous, but I promise you it in just the opposite. As humans we are constantly worried about what others think of us… maybe some of us more than others, but that is besides the point. When you put yourself in a situation with more people you are driven to achieve more to, well (as much as we don’t want to admit it), show off!!!
3. The Buddy System!
We have all heard of the buddy system right? It has been drilled into our heads since kindergarten when we went on that field trip to the local zoo! Well it works wonders. Find a partner who is driven. Someone who genuinely wants to run with you. It might require a little bit of match making, but when you find them you will be shocked at how much you can actually run. Running with someone goes along the lines of the last bullet, the human strive to essentially show off or be just as good. Running with someone gives you that extra motivation to go that extra leg just because your partner is. You can make it a friendly competition to see who can run the longest, or you can work together and decide the lengths as a team. Whichever way fits for your running dream team. This also gives you the option to talk and catch up during your warm up and cool down (or even during the run if you can manage). Talking to someone takes your mind, once again, off of the running and forces you to think of something else. I do recommend finding someone around the same level and ability as you because that will only make things easier for the both of you, but if someone has the drive and push (whether they are higher or lower in ability than you) then it will be beneficial on both sides.
4. Tech it up!
The next time you are at the mall, or perusing the internet (like right now for instance) check out your local sporting goods store. Head over to their technology section and take a look. There are so many devices that go along with the activity of running. Personally, I own a Fitbit Flex. It counts my steps, active minutes, sleep, keeps track of my calories (in and out), water consumption, and miles gone. It is magic. I received it as a present for my birthday, after learning about this awesome device from my friend, and have not taken it off since. The little thing is even water proof (though it still scares me to get it wet). Ever since I got it all I can say it, no one thing has motivated more. It keeps you motivated through setting up daily goals and awarding you badges when achieving certain things, like number of steps in a day. I go running just so I can reach my daily step goal. A lot of what I do is based on my Fitbit. I love it! There are so many other devices and gadgets you can get that do the same thing. Or you can even get a more specific device that is just specified to running. Millions of watches are made just to track your steps and mileage. But having that information literally at your fingertips can keep you going through that bump in the road.
5. Treat yourself dude!
When’s the last time you had an extra cookie? Or the last time you went to your favorite store and splurged a little? Well, if you are looking for an excuse then you have found it. Reward yourself for your run. That does not necessarily mean spoil yourself rotten but a little reward that you set up will certainly get you motivated. if you are really pushing to hit that 5 mile mark on your run but are just falling short, then set a reward for when you finally reach your goal! This gives you something to look forward too besides the next time you stop running! This also makes running just a little bit more enjoyable, I mean not that we don’t all just LOVE running anyway, right?
6. Find your APP-roval!
In this day and age almost everyone walks around with the internet in the palm of their hand. Your phone never leaves your side, and why should when you run be any different? The world of apps opens up so many doors. There are apps with a GPS tracker so you can track your time and distance ( like Kinetic), there are apps like plan a workout for you and let you know when to run or walk ( like C25K), and there are apps that give you points for your workout (like Fitocracy). *All of these apps I use personally, and absolutely adore*. Different apps motivate you in different ways. Planning out your workout for you lets you know whats ahead keeping you focused on you path. Tracking your distance and time helps you keep track of past workouts, pushing you to achieve more than you set out to on your previous runs. And finally, giving you points and allowing you to level up pushes you to do more, making you almost obsessed with earning more points and out doing yourself!
7. Look your best!
Everybody loves to look good! I am known for having crazy bright and weirdly fun workout clothes. It’s all I look for really when I go shopping for new gym attire. For me, it’s a way to ensure I actually exercise. When I go out and find new things that just make me smile, even when they are still on the hanger, I know I am going to want to use them. I know I am going to want to wear them ALL the time! Finding clothes that you feel good in will help translate that positive mood into your workouts. When you feel good, your mind and body feel good. Keeping your mind in a happy place allows for less room for that pesky mental block to sneak into. Plus, you will always look trendy even when you’re sweaty!
Well, there you have it. Seven tips to keep your mind from being your worst enemy. I personally use all of the tricks to help me push through my workouts.
Good luck! Let me know if you have any other tips that could help people out and how these tips work for you!
-Protein Smiles 😀
**I am in no way affiliated with any of the products or apps that I have mentioned in this post. I recommend them solely based off of personal use/experience.**