Toughen Up for a Tough Run

Hey guys! 🙂

If you would have told me two months ago that on April 12th I’d be hot running outside in a tank top and running skirt, I would say only in a blue moon would that happen.


Well, there have been about 8 blue moons this month already! I seriously cannot believe the amazing weather we’ve been having in central IL this spring. Please, please let it stick around!

Yesterday morning I chose to fumble upon the snooze button instead of getting to the gym to run. I’d decided on just making it an impromptu rest day (it’s been happening often lately.) But you know how plans go. I only had to train one client in the afternoon since my second one rescheduled, and had a bit of the running bug, so after training, I headed out for a quick run after taking Niko on a walk.

I ran 3.67 miles in 33 minutes – sans iPod – and just enjoyed the glorious day. There were elementary school soccer games, men’s softball practice, tons of other runners, and many other signs of summer. Lurve. Average pace was 9:04.

I came home very, very hungry and made a huge salad and side of potatoes and veggies:


And a POM spritzer.


In the salad was spinach, romaine, avocado, strawberries, baby bellas, broccoli, Quorn meatless nuggets, and raw goat cheddar. For the dressing, I put 1 T. apple cider vinegar, ½ T. olive oil, stevia, sea salt, and a splash of POM juice. So. Freaking. Delicious.


Potatoes, carrots, green beans in an olive oil, basil, and garlic mix.

A little while later, dessert was had:


Oh yes I did buy Chocolate Cheerios and eat them! The ingredients are ehhh, but I couldn’t resist!

Seven Tips for Getting through a Tough Run

After pressing publish on my post yesterday, I got to thinking about all the different tricks, techniques, and tips I pulled out of my hat CamelBak to help me get through all 11.25 tough miles.

Because let me tell ya, it’s pretty much impossible (for me, at least) to get through an already tough 11 mile run without relying on some go-to tactics.

Disclaimer: I don’t consider myself to be a running “expert” – this is just what works wonders for me!

1. Don’t let your equipment rule your run.

Obviously I’m a proponent of gadgets and gear while running. I don my Garmin, Camelbak, iPod, hat, and phone during every run that’s over 5 miles. But I don’t depend on it because iPods break, Garmin’s die, and Camelbak’s leak. Gadgets are very helpful in one’s training, but can lead a runner to a dead end if dependant upon them.

2. Get in your Planned Distance Mindset.

Before heading out for a run, it’s important to get in the right frame of mind. I don’t go out for a run with the same head on my shoulders during a short run as I do a long one. During short runs, for me, the mindset is all about paying attention to my pace, my breath, my intervals, etc. For long runs, it’s all about zoning out and telling myself “you’re going to run for a long time, and you’re going to enjoy the outdoors.” The only thing I concentrate on really is trying to achieve a negative split by not burning out early.

3. Run through cramps. Muscle cramps, joint pain, and tummy problems are really the only things that have literally forced me to slow to a walk. However, in this first year that I’ve become a “runner” I’ve learned to run through the muscle cramps. By taking deep, lung-filling breaths and holding it just a second before slowly breathing out can really help ease muscle cramps. If this doesn’t work, I slow down, stretch, and massage. As far as breathing while running in general, it’s important to keep your breath with your pace. If you speed up your pace, speed up your breaths. If it’s a slower run/pace, slow down your breaths.

4. Stay Hydrated/Fueled.

Whether you are carrying a water bottle, a Camelbak, or taking water break stops, it’s very important to stay hydrated during exercise. Also, after an hour of running (or any intense exercise) it’s beneficial to intake some form of carbohydrates during your run. Clif Shotbloks are my favorite solid form of instant energy, but lately I’ve found that drinking my carbs continuously aids in a constant stream of energy. For example, in Sunday’s long run, I diluted the water in my Camelbak with half a bottle of POM Wonderful juice. It worked wonderfully, and I don’t know if I’d have had the energy to finish if I didn’t have it.

5. Practice Proper Form

Keep your head up and your shoulders away from your ears, your abs firm, and your torso upright or tall. Your arm swing pretty much mimics your stride. If your arms are going super fast, odds are your legs are too. When running up hills, shorten your stride and slow your pace slightly.

6. Unleash your Inner Hardcore

I’m all about the mantras when runs get tough. The ones that work best for me focus on pushing through the run. Some of my favorites are: “if this were easy, everyone would be doing it,” “think of how you’ll feel when you get to the finish,” “you are a machine,” and some more positive mantras such as “you can do it!” “look at how beautiful it is,” “great job, legs, keep it up!”

7. Keep the ends to your means in mind.

Why are you running in the first place? For good health? To lose weight? Gain muscle? Training for a race? Whatever it is, you are definitely worth this tough run!

What are some tips and tactics that help you get through a tough run or killer workout? I’d really love to hear your advice and apply it to my training, too!

Well I’m off to go to that one work place 😉 Have a fabulous day, everyone!


22 Responses

  1. I wish I had some tips on running but I’m just not a runner. Actually last night I did HIIT on the treadmill (I usually do it on the stairs) and it wasn’t so bad!

    YAY for great weather! 🙂

  2. Sometimes I will pciture myself running in a big race and people on the side cheering me on. I know it sounds cheesy but sometimes on those long runs…playing make believe is kind of fun! haha!

  3. I love your #1 rule! Of course love all of my running gadgets, but I like to run “naked” a lot. Even long runs. It’s nice not to be weighed down by anything or even feel the pressure from a Garmin. I’ll make stops for water, but other than that I’m freeeee 🙂

  4. Ahhh, I LOVE impromptu runs on nice days!! Some adays are just too wonderful to pass up 🙂

    Lovelovelove the tips, all of them, but especially the cramping one. I tend to cramp up a lot when I run because I inadvertently start running too fast. Slowing down, or taking a walking break usually gets rid of it. No need to stop running just because of it.

    My only tips is to enjoy it! I run outside to get the fresh air. Instead of setting mileage and pace goals, I just tell myself to get out there and jog till I feel like I’ve had enough. Those are always the best runs 🙂

  5. Thank you for those tips! As a new runner who’s been struggling I know these will help. 🙂

  6. those chocolate cheerios sound good and i’d definitely be having ’em for dessert!

  7. Great running tips!!!
    I must admit though, even though I don’t ‘rely’ on my equipment, having an ipod or garmin run out of juice half way through a run is pretty irritating!!! Especially the latter!

  8. Also (sorry for the double post!), something that came to me while I was pushing through a difficult run this week was
    “Every minute running is another minute you didn’t quit”
    This mantra repeated itself in my head over and over until, before I knew it, I had completed my run!!!

  9. These are great tips. If I ever become more of a runner I will be sure to keep them in mind. 🙂 Although I really agree about keeping in mind why you are working hard, since that applies to anything.

  10. I can’t top all of those good replies, but I can give you one quote that always kept me goin’. “The hardest part of a long run is putting your running shoes on.”
    Also, I wouldn’t plan an extra long run; I would just finish a long run if everything was going great. That way, I would surprise myself, not depress myself. One time when I REALLY surprised myself with a good run on a very HOT morning, I came home, (not realizing just how sweaty I was) stopped in the bathroom and slid off the john.

  11. Great post and great tips!

    While I also think people shouldn’t rely too heavy on gadgets, I find myself extra-motivated by music. If one does carry a .MP3 player it’s great to have a specific playlist with a few “power” songs on it. As of late, some “power songs” for me are anything by Lady Gaga, Neko Case or my go-to track: “Run Baby Run” by Sheryl Crow.

    I have veggie envy over your dinner pics… gotta make myself 7,000 different types of veggies for dinner. So fresh and tasty. Have a good day!

  12. We are on our second box of the Chocolate Cheerios. 🙂 I like mine with chocolate almond milk. Enjoy! 🙂

  13. I commend you for running without all the gadgets! I feel attached to my Garmin & my ipod (my dad runs long distances without music and i don’t know how he does it!)

    I love all the tips (especially the one about releasing your inner hardcore 😀 )

  14. Love this post! Awesome tips – I find running with my Garmin and iPod, getting in the right mindset and having mantras help me so much!

  15. […] Paige has some good tips on how to get through a tough run. […]

  16. Cute pic of you 🙂 I love love love running outside- I never bring an ipod. Its just wonderful to enjoy the scenery. I’ve been eying those chocolate cheerios …

  17. Great tips. You pretty much hit any tips I would have suggested 🙂

  18. […] April 14, 2010 by runningaroundnormal Good evening! I’m glad a lot of you guys found my tips to get through a tough run useful! Thank you to those who added your own tips, too. Some great tips to check out in the […]

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