How to Keep Running When Tired
We can all agree that running is good for our bodies and minds. We’re all familiar with the many health benefits we can reap from running on the regular, but this doesn’t mean we don’t get tired.
You’re not the only one who woke up feeling like they never want to get up, let alone go on a run.
You’re not the only one who felt completely exhausted while running that they wanted to do nothing more than just stop.
But unlike a lot of less determined people, you’re here trying to fight it. You want to continue running. You want to push yourself. You want to help your body move beyond fatigue.
This is where our article comes in.
Today, we’re sharing 9 tips on how to keep running when tired.
1. Remember Why You Started Running
One of the most effective ways to successfully push yourself into continuing your run when you start feeling tired is to remember why you started running in the first place.
Recalling the goals you aim to achieve from running is crucial to keeping your motivation alive.
As long as they’re something urging you to keep going, it’ll get easier to overcome your feelings of exhaustion and moments of doubt.
This tip is important no matter your age or skill level. Every runner started their journey for a reason, and this is what you should always remind yourself of.
Staying motivated is crucial to beat the sensation of tiredness and desperation to stop. Even when you haven’t begun the run yet, motivation is what gets you out of bed and onto your route.
2. Use Proper Running Gear
If you run wearing anything other than specialized running gear, you’re likely to experience endurance problems, especially when it comes to running long distances.
Improper running gear, such as shoes and clothing, won’t just make it difficult for you to keep running when you start to get fatigued, but it’ll also make you feel tired a lot faster.
Investing in dedicated running equipment will maximize the efficiency of your performance, helping you run longer distances without feeling exhausted. It’ll also lower the risks of sustaining an injury.
If nothing else, you should use proper running shoes. This is probably the most important piece of running gear because it really has the heaviest effect on a runner’s performance.
After all, the shoes go on the feet, which are critical for running.
The wrong pair of shoes will have your feet aching and your legs hurting from running in a lot less time than proper shoes. It can also cause your feet to roll the wrong way, resulting in injuries such as sprains and stress fractures.
Running shoes are specially designed to provide support, stability, and comfort to your feet while running.
They feature padding, cushioning, flexibility, and rigidity in different sections of the shoe with various levels to cater to the physical needs of a runner’s feet.
Finding the right size of running shoes is just as necessary as the shoes themselves. You may also want to buy a few running socks to prevent chafing and pinching.
As for clothes, running t-shirts and shorts are made to be breathable and moisture-wicking, which is great for runs in hot weather.
Similarly, running long-sleeved shirts and pants are good options for cold days to help you retain some heat.
For the ladies, they should consider buying a high-quality sports bra to give their backs some extra support when moving to decrease fatigue.
3. Keep a Proper Running Posture
Another common but often overlooked reason for feeling tired while running is improper posture.
Your body may unintentionally slouch or fall into a wrong gait or form during runs, which can easily cause fatigue.
How to keep running when tired? To help your body overcome this sensation -or avoid the scenario altogether- you should be mindful of the positioning and orientation of your body while running.
This is key to maintaining a proper running form.
So what’s a “proper running posture” you ask? Well, it goes like this:
- Your back should be straight, upright, and elongated. You should be standing tall with your head lifted, your shoulders leveled (but not tensed), and your hips neutral.
- Your arms should be moving freely back and forth. Let them swing according to your natural flow, but make sure the movement is coming from the shoulder joints.
- You can keep your hands open or close them into loose fists as long as they’re as relaxed as possible. Don’t clench your hands too hard into tight fists to avoid tensing up the muscles or your arms, shoulders, and neck.
- Your core should stay engaged as much as possible. This will help you stay mindful of your body’s posture and prevent slouching forward or backward, making you feel tired.
The main idea here is to keep your body as straight and as relaxed as possible. If you let your body tense up and hunch over, you’re guaranteed to feel fatigued as your chest tightens and breathing becomes harder.
You want your airways to be as open as possible for the duration of the rub. Do this by being always aware of the positioning of your shoulders and fixing your sight straight ahead.
4. Stay Hydrated
A lot of the time we forget to supply our bodies with adequate amounts of water and electrolytes, causing us to become dehydrated.
This is worsened by running as the activity triggers the body to sweat, losing even more water.
But how does dehydration relate to fatigue?
Well, the number one symptom of dehydration is fatigue, which becomes more significant while working out. So if you feel tired during a run, you should drink water.
You can do this by simply carrying a water bottle with you while running. Or, you can use a hydration pack for a more serious approach.
Remember to hydrate your body not only when running, but also before and after your runs.
Generally speaking, you should drink around 5 ounces of water -or whatever exercise beverage you prefer- every 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Eat a Snack
Keeping track of your nutrition can help you keep running when tired. There’s a chance your fatigue while on the run is due to a lack of energy, which is caused by diet error.
It could be that you skipped the meal before the run or your diet is overall low on carbohydrates or your diet doesn’t include essential minerals and vitamins.
A drop in energy levels during running happens because your body has burned through the available carbohydrates and doesn’t have much left to spare for the intense activity you’re doing.
In this case, your brain will translate the situation into a sensation of fatigue to get you to stop running, and consequently, stop wasting the body’s precious energy.
That’s right, our brains and bodies like conserving energy whenever possible just in case an emergency comes up.
This is why a runner needs to consume high-energy foods such as oatmeals and sweet potatoes.
While running, always keep a nutrition bar on stand-by and munch on it when you start feeling too tired.
A nutrition bar will give you a quick boost of energy thanks to its contents of carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, and micronutrients.
6. Break Down the Run
In the following scenarios, when are you more likely to stop when you feel tired:
- If you have 20 minutes left to run?
- Or if you have 2 minutes left to run?
For most people, the answer is the first scenario.
This is completely normal because the goal seems too far to reach that one might as well stop. You know it’d be better to keep going, but it’s psychologically easier to quit when the target is out of grasp.
To overcome this, try breaking down the run into smaller segments.
For example, instead of thinking “I have 20 minuted left to run”, try thinking “I have 2 minutes left to run” then “I have 2 minutes left to run” and so on.
This will trick your mind into thinking that it just has to go through a bunch of small “achievable” runs instead of one long “unachievable” run. As such, you’ll have a better chance of convincing your brain and body to keep running when tired because the next goal is just “so close”.
7. Keep the Run Interesting
Introducing some interesting elements to your run can be the perfect distraction from the fatigue, allowing you to keep running through it.
You can do this by listening to your favorite tunes and immersing yourself in the music. You can also try taking note of your surroundings, whether it’s the nature, the building, the people, and so on.
8. Wear a Knee Sleeve or Brace
If you often feel tired due to pain in your knees, you may benefit from the support, stability, and comfort that accompany wearing a knee sleeve or brace.
Weak knees could result from a lingering injury or an underlying condition. This may not bother you in your everyday life, but it can come through rather harshly while running in the form of fatigue.
In this case, wearing a compression sleeve or a knee brace can delay the feeling of tiredness and even help you run through it when it starts to come through.
The pressure exerted by the sleeve or brace can help alleviate pain and improve stability.
If you need to wear something more effective than a compression sleeve, then it’s best to ask your physician to recommend an appropriate type of knee support.
9. Find a Partner
In many aspects of life, having someone to support and motivate us is what keeps us going.
The same goes for running — having a partner will push you to do your best, which means not stopping at the first hint of tiredness.
As such, it can be a good idea to run with a partner. This can be a friend, a neighbor, or even a coach.
You can also search your area for a local running club and join it. That way, you’ll have multiple running partners who stick to a schedule, which will also boost your commitment.
There you have it, 9 effective tips to guide you on how to keep running when tired. While you shouldn’t quit at the first sign of fatigue, it’s important to not over-push yourself to the point of sustaining an injury.