What to do when you’re having a bad run

It’s cold, it’s raining, your leg hurts, and you’re only 5 miles into your long-run. What do you do?

Every runner has a bad run from time to time, we’ve just got to deal with it correctly. While it’s easy to throw in the towel and walk home, chances are you’ll regret it later on.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

This article will dive deep into what to do when you’re having a bad run. And as you may have figured by now, the answer does not lie with quitting, unless you genuinely have to.

Say NO to the negative self-talk

Mile six and it begins, that negative self-talk. That voice that tells you to give up, tells you your training isn’t worth it, and that you’ll never be as fast as you want to be. What do you do?

  1. Acknowledge it

Acknowledging the negative self-talk is the first step. No matter how loud you turn up your music, or try to refocus your mind, it will come back. Understand where this negative self-talk is coming from.  Maybe you missed out on a few hours of sleep, perhaps you didn’t eat enough before your run, or maybe you’re beginning to overtrain.

  1. Channel it

Take this negative self-talk and use it to fuel your run. Prove that inner voice wrong. So what, it’s telling you to give up? Use that as motivation to keep going, every step of the way. The more it talks, the more fuel you’re adding to the fire.

“It’s very hard, in the beginning, to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually, you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

Overcoming this negative self-talk and proving yourself right develops mental and physical strength – essential for faster and stronger running.

Suggested: 20 Running quotes to motivate you for your next run.

Dig deep

Easier than it sounds, you’ve got to dig deep and push through your run when the going gets tough. Whether it be an easy run, long run, or interval session you’ve got to find it in you to get it done.

Tip: Trick your mind by telling it that this is your last mile each mile until you finish

Remind yourself what you’re training for

Reminding yourself of your goals and what you’re training for is a great way to increase your motivation. Calling it quits and ditching your run early will not get you to the finish line of a marathon. In fact, it will develop weak mental strength and more than likely cause you to do it again, and again.

Tip: Set clear training goals and remind yourself of these when you have a bad run. At the end of the day, it’s all down to you to achieve these goals.

Play a motivational playlist

Nothing quite beats a motivational playlist to push you through those gruelling last few miles. From Kelly Clarkson to Daft Punk, fill your playlist with motivational songs to fire up your run. Heck, why not play them before your run too! Here are a few noteworthy mentions to include in your playlist:

  • Kelly Clarkson – Stronger
  • Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
  • Fatboy Slim – Right here, right now
  • Nelly – Heart of a champion
  • Drake – Started from the bottom

Know when to throw in the towel

A smart runner will always beat an injured runner. Always remember that. Sometimes there are real reasons to quit, and we must accept that. Maybe you’ve got an unusual pain in your knee, shin, or foot? If it doesn’t go away within the next couple miles, you’re better off throwing in the towel and sitting this one out.

Chances are, running through musculoskeletal pain will cause more harm than good – it may even lead to injury. As stubborn as us runners are, knowing our body and knowing when to quit can do us a whole world of good – and a whole load of time saved from being sidelined.

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