Tips for getting through that difficult run

If you are trying to extend out the time or distance that you are running, it can be tricky to break through some limits. You might be running a bit too quickly for the distance you are trying to accomplish. The speed makes a difference - it changes the proportion of fuel you draw from in your body from either carbohydrate or fat sources. A greater proportion of fat sources tend to be drawn from if you run relatively slowly and for periods of 25-30 minutes or more. Quicker, shorter runs tend to draw from your carb stores - which tends to be glycogen. If you are having trouble breaking through a barrier, try out these three tips:

  1. Try some self-talk. If you're running alone and struggling, give yourself a bit of self-coaching. Tell yourself that you're mentally fatigues -- not physically tired, and that you can push through it. Trying telling yourself things like, "I'll have some water in five minutes -- that will make me feel better." If you're extending distance and doing your longest run ever, remind yourself how great you'll feel when you're finished.
  2. Break up your run into smaller goals. Dividing up your run into smaller chunks will make the distance feel much more manageable. For example, if you're running 20 km, think, "OK, it's four 5-km runs." At the start of each new chunk, visualize yourself just starting out on a new run with fresh legs and attitude and just focus on getting to the end of that section. This works for shorter distances too, and can work on the fly. You can focus on maintaining good form to get to the end of that street, and then focus on speed between those two lampposts.
  3. Remember: It's not always easy. As you're doing a long run - maybe your weekly long, slow distance run, remind yourself that it's not so easy to train for a long-distance event. If it were, everyone would be doing it, right? Remind yourself that you're taking on a challenge and the difficulties you face will make your achievements all the more worthwhile in the end.

Keep getting out there!