The mind game and ways to overcome pain..

The temperature outside is hovering around 35 degree centigrade. Humidity is above 80%. You have completed around 15 kms and it is just the half the distance you have planned to run today. As usual you had set the alarm way early in the morning and you must have snoozed it atleast 5 times before deciding it was enough. And by the time you hit the road you have kicked yourself for starting out so late. You reach the starting point, do a quick pre run stretches and start you run slowly and steadily. The first 2-3 kms of run are quite anxious as every part of leg pains and twitches. But as you finish the first 2-3 kms, you start feeling strong. The sun is out and humidity is also rising. You curse yourself for starting out late inspite of waking up at the first alarm and play the snooze-alarm snooze-alarm game.

Isnt this a story of every runner who plans a long run every sunday? Well mine is and as soon as you hit the half way mark of your run, the energy starts draining out. The road ahead looks difficult to cross. This is where the mind and the body starts fighting with each other and your mental power comes into the picture.

There are few things which have helped me in cruising through those tough second half of the long run..

1) Tables: Once the going gets tough, I start reciting tables in my mind. I start with simple ones like the tables of 2, 3, 5 and then slowly go on to the tough ones above 10. The best ones are the one belonging to prime numbers like 13, 17, 19. I dont stop till the multiples of 10, but go on till 20 or even above that. The tougher the tables are, better it helps me in diverting my mind from the pain in the legs or the body.

2) Another method is to plan your work for the next week. As this long run happens on Sunday, you have a whole week, when you can plan your work and tasks for the week. It helps a lot as when you run, you feel you are meditating and there are lot of things you remember which you wouldnt have. I think running releases some hormones in your body which really helps you in clear your thoughts.

3) One more method which is really effective is to count the number of cars of a particular brand. This keeps your mind off on the run and within no time you finish your next run target. This could be slightly tricky. If you are running on the a service road and the road is slightly away from your running route, you could strain your neck muscles. But if you are running on the same road then it shouldnt be a problem. Try this out. This could be real fun.

4) This is my favorite. When it really gets tough and you need every ounce of energy from your body and muscles, just start singing. Sing in a loud volume and sing your favorite song. Don’t worry about the tone. Dont strain your self too much in doing this or else you will lose your breath. Make sure this is done with proper inhale and exhale of air and the oxygen required by the muscles.



  1. dee · March 25, 2014

    hey.. i am a novice runner. i run anything btwn 4/6 kms 5 times a week. i have been running reg for the past 6 months. but hv nvr run more than 6 kms at a time. i wonder how do i increase the distance? its normally anythng btwn 20- 25 kms every week. any suggestions?? would be most helpful.. cheers

    • Runnerboy · March 25, 2014

      Hi, I think you are running very good. If you can run 25 kms a week, you can easily increase the distance. The longest distance I had ran before my first half marathon was 6 kms. But on that day I was able to cruise the distance in a decent time. I would suggest increase your distance every Sunday or whenever you have holiday by 2 kms each week. So 8kms, 10kms and so on. On the weekdays maintain the distance of 4-6 kms. Make sure you do post run stretches every time you run. Warm up with pre run stretches. I am sure you will soon good distances. All the best!!

  2. dee · March 27, 2014

    thanx..:-).. i thought i was doing pretty poorly. but to hear i am doing ok sounds encouraging. its quite humid in mumbai. so i generally run post 7/7.30 pm. i ensure lot of stretching post running. for pre running warm up i walk for say 10 mins. i can try what ur suggesting. will try running maybe 7/8 kms nxt wknd since this wknd m out f town. also i hv noticed if i go drinking wid frnds ovr the wknd, it affects my running for the next few days. i hvn’t had a drink since the past 3 weeks and running is so much smoother despite the mumbai heat..:-) will keep u updated and will revert for further advice. ideally i wld like to initiate participating in running events by doing the 10 km stretch…cheers dee

    • Runnerboy · March 28, 2014

      That’s right. Its very humid is Mumbai and it is going to get worse. I run only in the morning. If you are consuming alcohol, make sure you have it with water and not with any aerated drinks. This will ensure the dehydration is not much. In fact experienced runners recommend beer after running a marathon as it has good amount t of protein as it helps in repairing muscles. Obviously If you have a better choice go for them.

  3. suruchisharma · August 8, 2014

    Hey .. Loved reading your ramblings ..

    Can you suggest me one thing ? Please bear with me till I give a background ..I used to be sincere sedentary person who never even walked fast 50 m straight in her life.. Even as a child my mother was pretty assured about my not venturing out .. I was lazy and simply hated moving.. Then something happened overnight and I became interested in fitness , running particularly ..

    The thing is , I weigh 80 kg , with thickest of calves you would not have seen .. As soon as I try to run , i loose breath .. I start panting heavily .. Is there something wrong in the technique .. I have checked with doc and health wise I am totally fine

    Are you aware about any running coaches nearby thane who help novices

    • Runnerboy · August 29, 2014

      Hi, Thats very normal for you to loose breath just when you have start running. It will take some time before you can build stamina and run few kms. I would suggest that do not think about anything when you run. Dont even concentrate on your breath. For 15 days just go out and run for 8 mins at your own speed. But run not walk. Do this every alternate day for 15 days. You will feel pain and realize there are muscles in your legs which you hadnt known. Dont worry about it.Once you do this increase your time by 4 mins, i.e you will run for 12 mins every alternate day.When you run do not target any distance. Target only the time. By the end of 1 month you will gain confidence. Make sure you eat one banana before your run. Post run do stretches for your legs. Best is to bend from waist and touch your toes without bending your knees. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds. Do this 3 times after your run. Once you do this let me know how it goes. I am not aware of coach in Thane but there are many running clubs in Thane which you can join.

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