The 6 Best Tools to Overcome Your Running Blocks
Sometimes your can't overcome your inner lazyness. You want to prepare for your next big hurdle, crack the 10K or the half marathon, but the training just won't go anywhere.
In your mind, everything is always easier than actually following through? But it's not due to lack of time or motivation?
Then maybe you, like so many others, suffer from mental running blocks. Often this is not due to the outside world or a lack of physical fitness, but to a lack of self-confidence.
In this article, we will introduce you to several reasons why so many people experience running blocks. We'll also give you the 6 best tools to overcome your running blocks quickly.
Because don't forget: Runners never give up!
A comparison of typical mental running blocks
- People on the street call (annoyingly) after you
- You feel too unathletic
- You compare yourself with others who seem to be faster, better or stronger.
- You find it hard to motivate yourself alone
- Fear of dogs keeps you from running outside.
- In winter it is too cold to go running.
1) Fear of being called out and feeling uncomfortable in your own skin.
Running outside can be a pain in the ass. Depending on where you live, there are nicer and not so nice running routes. Of course, our favourite thing is to jog through nature, breathing in fresh air and encountering as few people as possible along the way, apart from a few other runners.
But that is not always possible! In the city park, along the river or in your neighbourhood, you will inevitably meet other people. And some have made it their sport to shout after athletes instead of putting on their running shoes themselves. This is unpleasant and, in the worst case, a real blockade for running beginners, especially if you don't yet feel that fit and athletic.
There are three ways to get around this problem: 1. Choose a less frequented route in your neighbourhood where you feel comfortable. 2. Deliberately run very early or late in the evening so that you don't run into these people. 3. Start ignoring the annoying unathletes. You can also come up with clever sayings to counter them!
After all: Don't give strangers more space in your head than you would give them in your house. After all, you are on your way to personal success!
2) You feel unathletic and not fit enough
Your body is not yet prepared for the marathon, you feel completely unfit and the winter was once again very long. Of course, you didn't get enough running in. And now that you've started running again, you're quickly out of breath, you feel a stitch and you'd like to turn back after 10 metres? We've all been there.
Unfortunately, there is no way around the beginning! Even if you only run 15 minutes twice a week, alternate jogging with slow walking, or walk fast instead of running - you have to start somewhere.
The only way to get through this running block is routine and regular exercise. Even if you think you're far too unfit to even start, don't underestimate how quickly your body will switch back to fitness, better breathing and a stronger immune system if you just put on your running shoes regularly.
To avoid talking yourself out of running, it's best to set fixed times during the week that are definitely doable for you. Then slowly build up to longer times or a faster walking pace. The small successes will lead you to the bigger successes!
3) You compare yourself with other athletes
Who doesn't know the athlete friend, the neighbour or the athlete from the neighbourhood who is so much better than us? This can quickly lead to frustration and resentment and prevent us from focusing on ourselves.
Because one of the biggest energy drains is comparing ourselves to other people. Everyone is different and has their own path ahead of them - and what we often forget, already behind them! Even if other athletes seem faster, stronger or fitter to you, that says nothing about you.
Some people have been running longer and started exactly where you are now. Others have better basic fitness. Some people are simply naturals in a sporting field (see our interview with Marcel Krieghoff).
Your training is all about you and what goals you set for yourself. This gives you confirmation, a constant sense of achievement and ultimately a more athletic body!
4) You find it hard to motivate yourself to run alone.
For some runners, running alone is a pure blessing to clear the mind and leave everyday life and conversations behind. For others, it's downright horrifying to even get motivated, and especially to do it alone!
If you find it hard to run alone, join a running group in your city. VirtualRunners organises regular live running groups in different cities in Germany (if the circumstances are 'normal'). I.e. you can join one of our (virtual) running groups, or check out which running clubs in your area regularly go running in a group.
Admittedly, it is easier to run in a team. Regular training is easier when you know you are part of a solid group that encourages you to keep at it! Teamwork also lifts your mood and helps our bodies release the happy hormone oxytocin.
5) Fear of dogs chasing you
Everyone knows this running blockade. Especially when the dogs bark loudly and bare their teeth! In a new place, on unfamiliar running routes, or in the same street, exhausting dogs unexpectedly come up to you.
And the runner's dance begins! Around the dog, back, to the left, to the right - in short, it's exhausting, because you have to interrupt your route every time! Especially if you are afraid of dogs.
To get around this problem, there's only one thing to do: go running with a dog yourself! No, all joking aside :). Of course, you don't have to have a dog to go walking in dog areas.
However, you can ask the dog owners if they can leash their dogs (if they run free). You can choose routes where there are a lot of people, so that the dogs being walked are less irritated by passers-by. Or you can choose a route where no dog owners normally walk.
6) In winter it's too cold to exercise and fitness fades
In winter it's so nice and warm at home, who wants to go running outside when it's 0 degrees Celsius? Not many, understandably. The disadvantage, however, is that the body becomes sluggish and quickly puts on a few extra kilos.
When you start running again in spring, it's hard to get started. You get out of breath more quickly, the desire to train again is low and you feel anything but fit.
This means that the best thing to do is to keep going and exercise in winter, just as you do at other times of the year. You can alternate your running route with the treadmill at the gym, switch to yoga or pilates at home, or combine a shorter run with strengthening and stretching workouts indoors.
And if you do take a longer break, don't let that stop you from getting back into it. After all, once your body has been fit, you'll get back there quickly.
Did the 6 best tools to overcome your running blocks help you? If so, leave us a comment and tell us more about what blocks you still want to overcome!
Your VirtualRunners family
Picture 1: Tom Wheatley
Picture 2: Alex McCarthy
Picture 3: Alexander Redl
Picture 4: Leon Liu