4 Mental Tricks for Getting Through a Tough Run

An elite runner shares advice for overcoming tough obstacles during a bad workout

Whether it’s because your body is feeling off or your mentality isn’t on point (or even a combination of the two), every runner knows how terrible a tough workout can feel.

Sometimes a difficult run is unexpected, other times the struggle starts before you even lace up your shoes. Heavy feet, stiff legs, a clouded mind; all of these things are enough to make any runner feel like they’re ready to throw in the towel before a workout is over.

Of course, you know that giving up is never a good option. Instead you can learn to push through the tough times by using the following "tough workout" tips.

1. Think About Things that Give You Strength
Lauren Jimison, an elite runner and a member of the Mammoth Track Club says she first turns to prayer when a workout becomes tougher than expected.

“When you’re having a rough day, draw on the things that give you strength,” she said. “For me, my faith propels me forward.”

2. Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter
When I am having a tough workout and negative thoughts come into my mind, I quickly dismiss them,” Jimison said. “Secondly, I never speak a negative word or complain during a workout. I don’t allow myself to complain. I want to build up my teammates and myself, so I know that speaking positively is the only option to make a tough workout a really good workout.”

3. Be Thankful
Jimison says that being grateful always helps her when things get tough.

Instead of focusing on not feeling good, I think about all the things I have to be thankful for” she said. “I thank God for my health, to be able to run, my support system, my environment.”

4. Run with Friends
Jimison says one of the things she’s most thankful for, and that helps her through every workout is her teammates.  

“Running for ASICS Mammoth Track Club is such a blessing,” she said. “We can draw on each other’s strengths when we aren’t feeling the best.”

Of course, not everyone can run with a team, so she also suggests running with friends when you can or simply drawing inspiration from others.

“When you’re not feeling great or feel unmotivated, be motivated by those around you," she said. "Whether it’s the mom pushing her stroller ahead, or the soccer player getting in their training run, be inspired by those around you; we were built for community and to encourage one another.”