April 17, 2021

How to Keep Running When You Want to Stop

If you have started running, at the very least one of your goal is to better at it. This goal means running the race most of the time. In this article, I will be sharing with you guys how to keep running when you want to stop. One thing I have realized in running is its also a mind game. When the time comes that my mind is telling me to stop, I just keep on running and be surprised that I was able to do it without stopping most especially for 5k until 21k distances. And yes, of course, I do stop at aid stations. It’s a big no for me to ignore aid stations.

Techniques on How to Not Stop Running When Tired

Below are the techniques I do and practice which keeps me going when the times comes that I wanted to stop in my run. It took me a long time to learn how to do this and up until now I still train myself so my body won’t forget.

Train Yourself to Walk While Resting for 1 Minute

If you are a beginner, you need to start with short distances. I suggest you start with 1km run(in your convenient pace) then stop for 1 minute then run again for 1k and walk. Continue doing this routine until you are getting used to it. This routine will train your body to keep going until its time to rest and also to start running again when the rest time is up.

As your fitness improves, you can start improving the distance, until you can cover a distance of 5km before stopping. Please do take note that this takes time especially for beginners. Take it slow and make sure that your body is already used to a certain distance before you transition to a longer distance. 

When you train yourself with this kind of interval running, you are wiring your brain to keep on running when you have not reached yet the target distance to stop. So during a race, when your mind starts telling you to stop, you already know what to do.

Set Target Objects

When the time comes that your mind is telling you to stop, do not immediately give in. You need to train your body to endure some of the pain. Again, it’s a mind game so most definitely your body can still move forward, but it’s your brain that is telling otherwise.

To deal with this, set a target object. So while running, your mind suddenly tells you to stop already. Tell yourself that you will stop in front of the large tree some meters away. Now when you reach the target, do not stop yet and quickly switch to another target object. Continue doing this technique and you’ll realize that you are becoming closer and closer to the finish line without stopping. 

Of course, you have to realize that the more you apply this technique, the most exhausted your body will become. So maybe after 5 target switches, you can reward yourself of a 1-minute rest. This is when the first technique mentioned above will come into play. As soon as the 1 minute time is up, you can then continue running again and apply this technique.

The more you practice this technique and experience it during the running event, the more you will get used to it. You’ll definitely discover that you could run more and cover a longer distance before stopping especially when you are running longer distances like 21kms. and up. 

When you are running on lower distances, this is a great technique to run till the finish line without stopping. Yes, you can do it. Just keep on training.

Another benefit of this technique is it improves your confidence after reaching each of the target distance you set. With this, you feel better and could run farther.

Improve your Running Form

The two techniques above would have better effects if in the first place you are running with a good form. Below is what a good running form is like and if you can follow this, you can run better and longer.

When you are running in the right form you are breathing well and with this, enough oxygen gets into your body to get you moving forward. In a simple explanation when your running form is off, your body can’t fully function to its fullest to propel you forward.  

For beginners, it is very important to learn these Simple Ways to Improve Running Efficiency

Tips on How to Keep on Running When you Want to Walk

Never Think about the Distance

The idea is to feed your mind with encouraging thoughts and this won’t happen if you keep on thinking about the distance. Never think about the distance especially when you are running marathons and ultramarathons.

The technique I do is to cut the whole distance into short distances and make it my goals. For example, when I run a 50k distance, what I do is set as a goal every 10km distance. So in the beginning, my goal would be to reach the first 10k. I convince my mind that the goal is to reach 10k and not 50k. Try this and you will be fulfilled after reaching the 10k distance and will have more energy and enthusiasm to continue with another 10k until you finish the whole 50 km distance.

The trick is to cut the entire race into short distances and rejoice after accomplishing your goals.

Fuel your Mind with Previous Running Experiences

Another technique to practice to get you moving forward when you want to stop running is to remember your previous experiences. This will give you the motivation to continue until the finish line since you have already experienced a lot of difficulties before and yet you had reached the finish line. 

The best thing is to think about the hardest race you could remember and it will surely fire you up. Reminding yourself that you are strong and a finisher will make you keep going on the current race you are participating. I am also doing this as well and I could say that it works and is very effective especially on your low times.

There are just moments in your race especially during ultramarathon that you feel really down and lacks the enthusiasm to continue. The best thing to do during this time is to think about all your achievements in running. You will slowly feel a lot better and with the right nutrition, you will surely start running in a short time. Now nutrition is a different topic so we will discuss it in another article.

The general idea is to feed your mind with running achievements to make you more confident that you can continue running. 

Tips for Remembering your Previous Running Events

Now we all know that our capacity to remember our running experiences is limited. So if you have been running for several years already, there are already some races that you forgot. Though you don’t forget about it completely, you could not anymore remember enough details not like before.

To deal with this, you need to have a running journal where you record all your running experiences. Think of it as a diary for your running events. A few days after an event, spend some time writing down your experiences so you don’t forget about it and before some challenging races, or when you have the time, you can go through this diary and be reminded of all your running experiences.  

Keeping track of your training is also good. So you can see where you have started and how far you’ve come already. Remembering how you were before and who you are right now could easily boost your morale when you feel like stopping when you run. You will be reminded of all the efforts you have put into your running journey. 

Distance yourself from Negative Thoughts

The moment negative thoughts entire your mind like you are too tired to continue, you wanted to stop for good, or you can’t make it anymore since the remaining distance is still too far, immediately divert your thoughts. Think about other stuff, anything that interests you like for me what I do is to think about what I will do after the event like seeing my girlfriend, eating my favorite foods, watching my favorite TV or anime show. Anything aside from the negative thoughts that would finder you to keep running.

There is no way to stop the thoughts from showing up, but you have all the means not to entertain it.

Be Patient

As mentioned earlier, running longer and farther does not happen overnight. Thus, you need to be patient and be consistent with your efforts to train and improve. No one started training to run longer and immediately achieved it in a few days or a few months only. The key is consistency. 

So you need to set your expectations right and be more patient. Sooner or later you will definitely reap the fruit of your labors. In running, the saying You will Reap what you Sow is very much applicable. 

When you give the right amount of time and effort on your training and practicing the techniques mentioned above you will certainly be able to keep on running when you want to stop. 


I am an ultra runner and a hiker. Love being in the out doors. When I'm not working on front on my laptop, you'll definitely see me outdoors.

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