Every runner hits the wall at least once. That moment when you don’t think you can take another step, but your training plan has you down for 3 more miles. There are a variety of ways to get over that wall, many of which are quick, easy, and painless.
1. Look up
As the wall approaches, we often begin concentrating on our feet, setting our eyes to the ground instead of the path ahead of us. Looking up not only improves the efficiency of our breathing, but provides us with ever-changing scenery that can distract the mind.
2. Take a few deep breaths
If you are lagging it is likely that you are not breathing efficiently. Take a few moments to breathe all the way down to your belly and then slowly and fully exhale. Five to ten of these breaths should reinvigorate any run.
3. Change up the music
If you are listening to a programmed playlist, switch over to the radio or a podcast. Vary the beats per minute if you prefer music, or find that one song that you just can’t sit still to. Changing the background audio is a great way to distract your mind and recharge your body.
4. Turn left if you normally turn right
Monotony can kill the joy of any run. If midway through your run you just can’t go any further, you may just be bored. Go down a new street or head on over to the nearby park. As long as you know you are heading into a safe environment, change up the scenery on occasion to avoid boredom. Changing up your route on occasion also prevents harassers from tracking your runs.
5. Change your pace
It’s okay to walk during a training run. Take a few moments to walk to the next park bench or light pole. Or pick up the speed. See how quickly you can crest the hill or see if you can secretly beat that runner across the street.
6. Check your form
When we get bored and tired our form suffers. Bad form means that your running is going to be that much more taxing. If you feel yourself dragging, skip the next block or do some quick butt kicks. Getting back to proper form will make those last miles easier.
7. Call it a day
Sometimes we just are not supposed to run and there is nothing wrong with calling it quits early. Listen to your body and know that tomorrow is another day. Don’t ruin your love of running by forcing a run when you just don’t feel it. Of course, this option should be used sparingly or you will never get off that couch.