Here’s the situation (and I’m sure you’ve been here t00):
I’m running along. Got 2 miles down and 2 miles to go. Everything is going great, I’ve picked up a rhythm, the weather is nice, I’m feeling good.
Then I turn a corner, miss a step which throws off my beat, a song I don’t really like comes on and suddenly, within seconds I want to stop running. I want to just walk the rest of the way home and never run again. That’s all I can think about now :: Stop Running. Then the negative thoughts and doubts start to push forward in my mind making it harder to keep going.
This is when we all have a choice :: push through and keep running or slow down and start walking. Neither option is bad but most of the time you are much more capable then you imagine or feel.
So last week on my 3.5 mile run I went through this dilemma around mile 2.5 but thankfully I didn’t give in to the Negative Nancy’s and instead I powered through and finished strong.
Here’s the Internal Assessment I take Anytime I want to Stop Running:
1. Does anything hurt? Legs? Lungs? Core? Back? Feet? Entire body?
Answer: No = move on to question 2 and keep running.
Answer: Yes = STOP Running! Don’t hurt yourself more. Don’t cause more damage. Listen to your body. Love your body and treat it right. So walk the rest of the way home, maybe even dance a little (helps your knees and muscles loosen up) and give your body a little extra TLC when you get home (stretch, legs up the wall, ice and chocolate).
2. How much farther do you have to go?
Answer: Less than a mile = You can do it. Keep Running!
Answer: Less than 2 miles = You can do it. Keep Running!
Answer: More than 2 miles = Try taking a short walk break. Change up the song. Drink some water. Shake out your limbs. Then start running again!
3. When was your last walk break?
Answer: A minute ago = Okay this is where you have to go back to Q1. Are you walking a lot because you’re not feeling well, injured or just not into it? If you’re just not feeling it and can’t find a rhythm no matter how hard you try then maybe you need to turn it into a fun run or dance party! Try
Answer: Over ten minutes ago = Maybe another short (30 – 60 second) walk break will help. Try it out. It won’t mean you’re not a good runner, don’t worry.
Answer: Haven’t taken a walking break yet = This has two routes: 1) Take a short walk break, sometimes it can help OR 2) keep going, clearly you’re body is just going through a little hiccup
4. Is there anything else you can do to re-find your groove?
Answer is always Yes! Try changing the song or music genre. Throw in some sprints. Change up your route. Grab a friend. Have fun. Dance. Sing out loud. Stretch. Roll out your shoulders. Keep running! You can do it!!
5. Do you need to change up your route and/or make your run shorter?
Answer: Yes, I took on too much too soon = It’s not the end of the world if you have to head home early because of the weather or you’re really having a hard time getting into it. You’ll have other opportunities to run, don’t worry.
Answer: No, I can do this = Keep Running! You know yourself far better than anyone else. So yes, while reading advice in blogs (like mine!), magazines and even from other runners can help, only YOU know YOURSELF.
“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”
- Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner