The "mental" struggles of running

Just finished W5D1 and Killed it! I've been battling the mental barriers to running. I'm 46 years old and haven't been a runner for DECADES. But I'm down almost 40lbs and determined to do a 2 mile Turkey Trot and then my first ever 5K in December. I'd love to hear the tips you're all willing to share regarding the mental side of running. Thank you!


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14 Replies

  • battling the mental barriers - simples, just come to this forum. There's nothing more uplifting and encouraging than all these folks here.

  • Absolutely icklegui! Couldn't agree more😬

  • Hi...just keep us up to date with where you are & we’ll all be running along side you...lots of runs on this programme are mentally challenging more than physically but we’re here to get you through & tell you that all’s ok...

  • Absolutely agree with icklegui and Mummycav

    Also please believe it can be done... too often we see folk self sabotaging before they've even tried a run...

    Often we are besieged by doubts, but the best thing to do us to look randomly at someone who posted in the W9 posts and see what their journey was like. Very often they will have had ups and downs, but so very often they achieved the plan and so will you.

    Welcome to the best running club in the world, run, post and run again. Let us know when you've run and we will celebrate and support you through. We can't do the physical running, but we try and help with the mental running.

    Good luck and happy running

  • Seems like you’re doing fine. Just stick to the program :)

    I found it very good as I’m also train for my first 5km in December.

    Well done and good luck you :)

  • Hi. I am also 46 and before starting this programme had not run since my 20s! I am now on week 7 (25 mins of continuous running).

    I find the key to the mental challenges of running is to be kind to yourself. By that, I mean do not allow yourself to ever believe that you "cannot" do a run. That is a terrible thing to tell yourself! This is where the kindness to yourself come in. If a run is daunting you for any reason, just tell yourself you will give it a go, you will give it your best shot. Chances are you WILL manage it. But if you don't, you have tried, you still ran, and after a rest day you can do it again.

    Distraction also helps if you are struggling. Listen to music you love and that motivates you; look around you; plan the week's meals - anything but think about running! Having said that, sometimes when it's tough I concentrate on my form - are my shoulders relaxed? Am I standing straight and not hunched over? Am I breathing deep enough?

    Most of all...take every run slow and steady. And believe in yourself!


  • Spot on for every point Sadie-runs😬😬

  • I'm 56 and never run since school then I managed to get out of that quite a lot! So 6 weeks ago, having lost 5 stone in weight, decided my next challenge was to try and improve my fitness. I thought I would give up after run one but then set a goal with my friend to do a park run. That will be 11 November for charity. So I am still here, invested in shoes, sports bra and running clothes. More importantly enjoying the runs. I hope you get as much inspiration from the forum as I do. Keep us posted and keeping running, slow and steady 🏃‍♀️

  • Just run... and post.... run and post.... Take it very slowly... don't kill it, embrace it.. each and every run, for its difference and maybe its challenges.

    Go steadily, taking everything in as you progress, feel the changes in your mind and your body..

    Accept there may be days when it feels harder, but know, also, that there will be days when you feel like you could run for ever. It comes...:)

    And we, are all here, as the others say, to enjoy that journey with you :)

  • I think Oldfloss has hit the nail on the head.

    This is not a battle to the death, nothing needs killing. If you approach each run psyched up, as many do, to overcome their fear, then you are not in the relaxed mental and physical state that makes running simple and pleasurable. It should not be a struggle.

    Embrace each new challenge with respect and apply what you learn as you go regarding pace etc. but also your life around the run. Relish the challenge don't battle against it.

    You say you haven't been a runner for decades, implying that you once were. Don't try to recreate running as you did it in the past. Accept that you are where you are right now and that your body will not allow you to bound effortlessly along but needs careful nurturing to bring out the amazing ability that is still within you.

    Slow and steady may not sound like a runners mantra to you, but for the older runner, it is the only sensible way to approach each run and your entire training, until you have rebuilt that basic strength and stamina.

    Calm self belief, not angry obstinacy.

    You can do it.

  • Thank you. I reread this thread today after a slow and painful (initially) 3.3 miler. I did it. I just kept going. Slowly. But purposefully. Thank you

  • Fantastic stuff nurseljh , both the weight loss and the running . Like you , I’m 46 and am in the middle of turning it all around , about 10 weeks ago I decided enough was enough , down 23 lbs and 3 weeks ago kicked off on this c25k , my wk 4 starts tomorrow and im enjoying the mental battle with my body , so i would say to to you , embrace the mental side of it , tunnel vision , you are doing sooooo well , i ve gotten massive inspiration from you 👏👏

  • Wow Chairmanoftheboard! Thank you! It jusy keeps getting better! Those slow baby steps have turned into a whole new healthier more fit me! Down 46lbs. You can do this! Honestly, i feel like if i can do it, anyone can!

  • My advice is not to pick a fight with yourself. If you decide it's going to be a struggle it will be. It's a bit like giving up smoking--all the rhetoric about "beating the cigs" conditions people to thinking they are doing something really hard--and makes it harder..

    Treat it as an experiment--there's something new each time even if you are repeating a run three times, because the first day it's all novelty, the second day you apply the lessons of day one and day three you're completing the week and ready for the next stage.

    I'm going out for my W5 W1 run now, not because I've surmounted a barrier but because I'm genuinely curious as to what it will be like and how I will cope.

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