Running is hard. When fatigue sets in during a race, you must rely on your mental toughness to get you across the finish line. Check out these seven tips for how to dig deep when all you want to do is give up:
- Have a mantra. Pick one or two simple and short phrases that motivate you and keep you in the game. It may sound hokey, but a mantra gives you something to hold onto when you are desperate.
- If it’s hot, slow your pace. Nothing is more discouraging than trying to keep a certain pace when you are about to pass out from the heat.
- Think back. Remember a time when you were so mentally and physically done that you wanted to quit but kept going. Squeeze your fist as hard as you can. Then squeeze it harder. See? You had more to give than you thought you did.
- Remember the big picture. Training can be mundane and boring. Runs can seem routine, almost purposeless. Keep the big goal in mind. Imagine running your marathon or big race. Imagine crossing the finish line. Know that each step of your “mundane and boring” run is getting you closer to that big goal.
- Stay present. Don’t think about the fact that you still have 5, 10 or 15 miles to go. Get to the next corner or stop sign and then re-assess how you feel.
- Keep perspective. Remember that it is not supposed to be easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. Instead of breaking yourself down with negative thinking, boost yourself up with encouragement. You are out there. You are doing it.
- Get bigger than yourself. You are tired; you want to quit. Shift your thinking. Remember that you can run, when many people cannot. Think of someone close to you who has trouble even walking. Remember a friend or family member who has passed away. Be grateful, and just keep moving forward.