Overcoming the mental barriers while running helps propel you to the finish line.
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Whether it's a 26.2-mile marathon or a 1-mile run around the neighborhood, tackling the miles becomes much more difficult when your brain's not in the game. The physical challenge of a run is obvious -- your muscles get fatigued and your joints are pummeled as you pound the pavement. But the mental challenge will turn a simple run into a detestable dash. Learning to break through the mental barriers can help ensure you reach the finish line without losing your cool.1.
Ditch the negative thoughts. Don't spend your entire run worrying about finances or replaying a recent argument in your mind -- it will only cloud your brain and create a negative attitude. Instead, clear your mind and strive to only think about the beauty of your environment, the fresh smell of the grass and how strong your body feels.2.
Abandon the negative self-talk, too. Stop telling yourself that you can't do it, you won't be able to finish the run, you're too tired or your body is in too much pain to continue. Keep your internal dialogue positive by telling yourself how much you've accomplished and how well your doing.3.
Develop a barrier-busting motto and repeat it to yourself as often as necessary. Whether it's a lyric from your favorite song, one of your favorite quotes or something you make up in your own mind, being able to turn to a motto when you're blocked by barriers can make a big difference. Chant it in your head -- or yell it out loud if you need an extra boost of motivation.4.
Break down the distance into smaller sections. Rather than focusing on the remaining 20 miles of a full marathon, break it down into four five-mile segments. Mentally overcoming four mini challenges is easier than overcoming one giant obstacle. If you have a much shorter distance left, break it down by landmarks. Push hard until you get to the next street, or give it your best effort until you reach the pine tree up ahead.5.
Look forward to the finish. Before you even begin, decide on a small reward you'll give yourself for finishing -- and then focus on that reward as you run. If it's just your daily run, maybe you'll allow yourself a few extra minutes of soaking in a bubble bath or watching television. If you're tackling a marathon, think about the medal waiting for you at the finish line, or arrange to meet up with friends for a light lunch after the run.