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4780 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Oct 31, 2010 7:24 AM by valmarie1
lindabinct Rookie 1 posts since
May 30, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 4, 2010 6:27 PM

My brain and do I stop it from thinking?

Hi all, as I pack on the miles to train for half marathon, I could use some advice on well literally my brain, my thoughts etc. I'll be in a groove running and then my brain startsin  with the bad thoughts, you know the " why don't you take a break", "you're tired", "you won't make it", stop at the next mile marker" etc.UGHHH!  It is like I am psyching myself out. Any ideas on how others clean their mind and keep it that way during a long run? How do you overcome the negative thoughts?

  • Surfing_Vol Legend 848 posts since
    Nov 6, 2007

    I listen to books on my iPod.  The best book for running is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.  He is not a great runner, but is a great writer.  He claims not to think about anything, but the book tells otherwise.


    In terms of negative thoughts, I have found the best cure for thoughts about quitting is to plan an out and back route or a route where I am "high and dry" if I quit.


    Sometimes, however, I have to walk.  I'm not training to win the literal race, but my race.  I can build mental strength one step at a time, and there are days when that extra step might overstress my body.  My strength comes not from pushing through all obstacles, which could (and has) led to injury, but not letting one "off" day through me off the overall plan.  In other words, negative self-talk on any given day won't determine or affect my next run.  Just keep at it.


    Good luck.


    Surfing Vol

    "Victory through attrition!"

    Charleston Half-Marathon 1/15/2011 -- 1:52:03

    The Scream! Half-Marathon 7/16/2011 -- 1:56:00

  • longislandguy Pro 121 posts since
    Dec 31, 2009

    this is gonna sound a bit goofy but I have reconditioned myself with this kind of stuff.. Every time i start asking myself those questions.. (Why dont you stop? how about only doing X-1 miles?).. I just answer with "Because that is just not what I do.."


    I will occasionally cut a run short if I think it is gonna screw up future training but for the most part, once you make the decision to do it.. just follow through..


    goofy I know but it works for me..

  • KennyP_USMC Amateur 10 posts since
    Sep 26, 2010

    It's all has taken me about 9 months to get over that hurdle and I've been actively running (short runs mostly) for the last 15 year in the Corps.  My Master Sergeant would call me a sissy....funny lil way he motivates me.  Anyway one thing I do is really quickly mentally go over the route that we are running.  A few weeks back we took our whole platoon on a run to the beach that was 9 miles.  I've driven out there numerous times so I know the road fairly well and I just told myself each turn and "check point."  My first half marathon I completed just last month...after running to the 10 mile marker I told myself "all I have left is a PFT (Physical Fitness Test) run which is 3 miles. I knew I could finish it.  I guess breaking the run up into segments, turn or check points helped me out alot.  Another thing is music...just listen and focus on the music to motivate you and push you through it.  Hope this helps!

    Semper Fi!



    Completed Races:

    Marine Corps Physical Training - For the last 15 years all over the globe.  "In Every Climb and Place"

    Marine Corps Half Marathon - Camp LeJeune, NC - 9/25/10 - 2:18:50

    Beirut Memorial 10k - Camp Johnson, NC - 10/9/10 - 53:57

    Oktoberfest 5k - Jacksonville, NC - 10/23/10 - 22:59

    Midnight Run for Ovarian Cancer 5k - Wilmington, NC - 10/29/10 - 23:00

    Upcoming Races:

    Swansboro Rotary Tideland News Great Mullet Run - Swansboro, NC - 11/13/10

    Marine Corps Half Marathon - Fredericksburg, VA - 5/??/11

    Marine Corps Marathon - Washington DC - 10/??/11  (decided I am gonna do this come hell or high water...that is if I am not deployed!!)

  • firstcampgirl Pro 73 posts since
    Sep 28, 2010

    I got those negative thoughts too. I usually listen to music and try to zone out and get into the music rather than focusing on the time or distance, etc.  I am not going to "win" any of my planned races, my goal is to finish without crawling.    I don't know where you are spiritually but I am a Christian and I spend a good amount of my running time in prayer. I focus on my surroundings and being thankful for a cool breeze or wildlife or just that I have the strength to run and the ability to train. I don't know if that is any help. I also try to rephrase things in my stead of telling my self "don't stop" (which is using a couple of negative words, I try to tell myself "keep going"


    I agree that if you plan a route from your home or car that is a loop (rather than turning around at some point) it is easier to commit to the whole thing.


    Good Luck!

    Newbie (wannabe) Runner

    5k- Nov 20, 2010 38 mins

    5k- Dec 7, 2010 36 mins

    Snapple High Could Half Marathon 3:15

    Half Marathon, Shamrock- March 20, 2011

    Cherry Blossom 10 miler April 3, 2011

    Warrior Dash May 21, 2011

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    It's hard to shut down your brain completely.  I often think about other things that are on my mind - problems I'm having at work or home, the best way to get done some project I've been thinking about, etc.  Usually when I think about the run it's more about my goals: what they are, how I'm doing on them, how this run fits in, then how I am doing on this particular run.


    Something I've carried around for a long time has some suggestions.

    - Take it one mile (interval, whatever) at a time.

    (As a friend of mine says "Run the mile you're in".  Don't think about the whole run, just where you're at right now.)

    - Focus on form and pace.

    (The next two always make me smile)

    - Make a deal with your body that you'll rest if it finishes.

    - Cooperate with fatigue - invite it along for the rest of the run.

    - Redefine pain - define it as something expected.

    - Talk yourself through it - other runners hurt too.


    There's also an article in the latest Running Times magazine (November, I think).  It talks about a number of strategies for mentally getting through your run.  I think it's in the Trail Running section.




  • valmarie1 Expert 44 posts since
    Jan 8, 2008

    I hear ya!!!!  What helps me is the route I plan.  If I have a route going from point A to point B it's easier for me to push past those thoughts and stay focused on where I'm headed - especially when I know my dh and kids will be there waiting for me.  But if I run at the park, going around and around it is SO HARD to just put in a few miles because quitting seems soooo easy.  Last night I even found myself having negative thoughts towards the dog walkers "oh look at you, must be nice to just come out and WALK"  LOL


    I agree with listening to a book or even music can help the miles fly by.  It definitely is a mental game and I find base building to be the hardest test of all.  It seems I can brainlessly run a certain distance but anything beyond that seems impossible.

    Running in honor of those that can't....and with vision that one day my son will run alongside me.

  • Dreamstate Legend 278 posts since
    Dec 1, 2009

    I memorize affirmations that I use to "fight" those negative thoughts.


    My favorite ones are "Don't Quit!" and "When I ask myself 'can i give more?' The answer is always YES!"


    Repeating this to myself occupies my mind long enough for my body to feel stronger and it turns my thinking around to something more positive. Works every time.

    Completed Races 2012:

    Rock and Roll USA Half Marathon, 02:54:26 (1st run POST injury)

    Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, 01:49:00


    Upcoming Races 2012:

    IronGirl Half Marathon, 4/29/12

    Frederick Half Marathon, 5/6/12

    Atlantic City International Sprint Tri, 09/17/12

    Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon, 09/18/12

    Baltimore Half Marathon, 10/13/12

    Marine Corps Marathon, 10/28/12

    ING NYC Marathon, 11/4/12


    Personal Record from 2011:

    Teach, Learn, Play 5k, 10/02/11 00:26:57 (PR)

    Marine Corps Marathon 10k, 10/30/11 01:05:38 (PR)

    Baltimore Half Marathon, 10/15/11, 02:24:15 (PR)

  • valmarie1 Expert 44 posts since
    Jan 8, 2008

    Dreamstate reminded me of something elve I've had a lot of luck with - as a Christian I memorize scripture and  choose one that is fitting while I run and go over and over it with each step fitting with a different word.  You'll be surprised but this has occupied me for a while in the past!  A favorite is in Isaiah "Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, they will walk and not grow faint, they will RUN and NOT GROW WEARY."  Fitting huh? 

    Running in honor of those that can't....and with vision that one day my son will run alongside me.

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