usaf.marathon@us.af.mil (800) 467-1823
Runner’s Block

You’ve all heard of the phrase “Writer’s Block”, right? That’s when an author simply gets stuck. They cannot come up with anything specific to write. They have a block.

Well, today we want to talk to you about what is known as Runner’s Block.

Running is very much a mental sport. For the most part, it’s not a team effort, with the few exceptions of joining a running group or following a Pacer in a race. But even then, it’s still an individual sport. You might be following someone’s lead, but you are still competing for you and you alone. Your time matters to you – no one else’s finish time hinges on what you can accomplish. So, for this reason, running requires a mentality of “I can do this”.

Because it is a mental sport, you will no doubt experience at some point in time Runner’s Block. You will fight the mind in pushing through a mental wall that has the capability of stopping your efforts. The cool part about this is that you can totally conquer this!

Some examples of Runner’s Block would be, but are not limited to:

I’m too tired, I’ll sleep today.

It’s too cold, I’ll do it tomorrow. (or It’s too hot, I’ll do it tomorrow)

I don’t have the energy to go another 3 miles.

I will walk… just for a few minutes.

Those are just a few of the more common ones. Perhaps you fight your own Runner’s Block statements. You know what your mind will try to tell you to make you give up. We here at the Air Force Marathon have not only seen these happen out on our course, nearly defeating what a runner has set out to do, but we have also personally experienced them in our own running efforts. We understand. Runner’s Block is frustrating. But it is not debilitating. Knowing and recognizing these moments become huge in preparing to overcome them. Now you know it will likely happen to you at some point, whether it’s during a training run or during a race, so what can you do about it?

Push through it!

How does one do this? Well, to be honest, the effort it takes to overcome Runner’s Block when it happens to you is going to look different for you than for the one running next to you. But, we’d like to offer some suggestions. Try them out- find what works for you in conquering this nasty mentality.

Many runners find a mantra that keeps them going, such as Don’t Quit or Stay Strong or I Believe. Generally a mantra comes in a shorter form so you can remember it and repeat it over and over. Some runners write it on their hand or wrist or bib to grasp onto it when the moment of Runner’s Block hits. Perhaps you can have a song you listen to on your play list, one that will pump your adrenaline when you need it most. Some runners pin a remembrance on their shirt or shorts or bib of someone who inspires them. Really, there are many avenues of conquering the Runner’s Block, but it’s an individual preference. The point is…. You Can Overcome It! However, we know there may be times where it’s too challenging to push through; so then, we recommend you stop, take a deep breath, put it aside for the day, but don’t quit! Get up the next day and push through that.

Just like with starting a new diet or being dedicated to writing every day or practicing the guitar, as a runner, the moment not only can, but will happen, when you hit a wall of Runner’s Block. The more you know it’ll come, the better you can prepare yourself for it. Is it easy to push through? Nope. We never said it would be. But we do know it’s possible, because not only have we seen runners on our course do it, we have experienced it ourselves in some of our individual running journies, and in all cases, we have seen it overcome. We have watched  you- our participants- conquer the mental blocks and push through those frustrating moments and come out as a better person for it. It doesn’t mean you will achieve your best time in the process, but it does most often mean you become a stronger version of you.

So, push through that Runner’s Block, find that inner voice or that “magic” word or person which will help, and utilize it. You can conquer, and you will learn about yourself in the process of it. Dig Deep and overcome the Runner’s Block.