Running Tips: How To Keep Going When You Want To Quit

How do you keep going when you want to quit?  We’ve all been there.  I don’t know how many runs I’ve been on that I could call a “bad run” and or experienced a regression in my abilities.  If anything it’s a regular occurrence and if you don’t have the right attitude about it, it can defeat your confidence in running and you start to feel like giving up.

So many times I have found myself in tears or fighting the urge to curl up on the side of the road and just pass out.  I’ve even contemplated making a phone call to someone to come pick me up and rescue me from my failures.  Those days you question whether or not you are even a real runner.  In spite of that I’ve always kept going.  Sometimes that has meant walking and sometimes that has meant crying.  But it has never ended in quitting and that is not a failure.  That is tenacity.  I say that now, but I’m sure I will be back on the side of the road in the next month asking myself if I belong out there. The answer is HELL YES I DO!

How Do You Keep Going When You Want To Quit

After runs like this a series of feelings can wash over.  You can feel like a hero, like you can accomplish or do anything.  Often you’re just too exhausted to do much more than base thoughts or activities.  You can also feel like a failure for not doing it better.  These runs I feel are the most pivotal in any training. If you keep going no matter what it builds inner strength, and it builds your character.

  • Consider changing up your routine.  Changing things up or making adjustments can affect everything physically and mentally.  It also gives you the feel of a “fresh start” or “re-set”.
  • Always pick out something positive in your workout.  No matter how awful it was consider something you gained from the scenario.
  • Take a break. Don’t stop entirely, but give yourself a few days off to recover physically and mentally.  Or take a week or two off running and maintain physical workouts another way.  Sometimes a break is necessary for both body and mind.
  • Take notes and/or keep a workout journal.  This way when you start to struggle you can evaluate the scenarios in which you struggled and possibly find thread.  Perhaps you aren’t hydrating well, or maybe workouts at the end of the day you’re too drained to put in a good go.  If there is a common denominator then you can make the changes necessary to be successful.

The real trick is to remember what you’ve accomplished, not where you failed.  Let the loss of confidence be a motivator to work harder and make adjustments for your next run.  Use it as an exercise to learn where you can improve and let that attitude filter into your everyday life.

We have to get over our ego’s or our hopes and be humble and accept the result, but that doesn’t mean we have to quit.  We can only work harder to do better or do it differently next time.  Not all runs are going to be full of glory and pride.  You gather character, strength, and perseverance by moving past the sense of failure. You continue on with the work and that’s what counts.  Remember that you still ran that day and still finished in spite of wanting to give up.  Congratulations.  You have just become a badass runner.


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