How to Keep Running When Tired

How to Keep Running When Tired – Why You Keep Stopping

How to Run Without Stopping?

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, there are often periods when you want to stop midway through a run and wonder how to keep running when tired. This can be either caused by fatigue or lack of fitness which often makes new runners feel frustrated. So how to keep running when you want to stop?

If you want to constantly stop while running this may be down to speed and the way you are running. New runners often find themselves pushing above and beyond their capabilities thus running too fast for their fitness level.

Before you head out for your next run you should have a good understanding of RPE (Rate of perceived effort). This helps you understand the intensity level of your run. A simple RPE scale to follow is from 1-10, where 1 requires the least amount of effort and 10 representing the highest of efforts.

Below is a simple scale to help prevent you from stopping when running above your means.

RPE Scale
RPE How It Should Feel Estimated HR
2–4 This should feel like light on the body. Used primarily as warm up and warm downs as well as recovery runs. 50–60% of max
4–5 Moderate effort that increases your breathing rate but you still feel comfortable. 60–70% of max
5–7 This is a more vigorous effort, often pushing the body’s limit where you are unsure of how long you can continue the effort for. 70–80% of max
7–9 An extremely hard effort which is usually felt when running intervals. Breathing is harder and often the feeling of quitting is in the mind. 80–90% of max
10 Pushing the body close to as hard as you can for any set duration. 100% of max
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Most of your easy runs should sit around an RPE of 3 to 4 and moderate runs 4 to 7 RPE if you are relatively new to running.

If you are running further than you have done before it is a wise decision to drop down perceived effort until you have completed the distance. Then to slightly increase your perceived effort during the next run over that distance.

Is it Bad to Stop During a Run

Keep Stopping When Running  – Why?

Trying to complete a run with a too high perceived effort often results in you to keep stopping when running. Dial back the perceived effort to 2-4 RPE and you will find the runs will become more enjoyable and you will be able to last the distance.

If you find that you are still continually stopping it may not be the intensity you are running at, but more pushing things too quickly or the terrain you are running on. Below are some simple tricks to you get through your next run.

– Find a running partner that can help motivate you on the days you have to run longer or faster
– Shorten your runs until you are comfortable with the distance
– Increase the distance of your runs by time rather than distance and not more than 5-10 minutes.
– Slow down the speed of which you run
– Slowly incorporate harder terrain into your run

In the beginning while you are stopping all the time, it is important not to overreach. Dial back the terrain difficulty and stick to easier courses. Once you can run the distance and course without stopping look to increase the difficulty of the terrain or increase the distance. Don’t increase both at the same time, this will often make things much more difficult and often see you getting out of breath or getting too tired easily.

How Long Should I Be Able to Run Without Stopping?

This can depend on numerous factors, a relatively fit person is often able to run for 10-15 minutes nonstop, while the more competitive runner can go on for hours. So it all depends on your current level of fitness and how much running or aerobic training you have done.

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Often new runners that are out of shape can only run a few minutes at a time. So building up your running gradually will increase your ability to run longer. So don’t be scared if you get tired after running for 1 minute. Everything takes time and patience and increasing your running slowly will improve how long you can run for.

There is no right answer to how long you should be able to run for without stopping. But being able to run longer without walking breaks is a good sign that your aerobic system is developing and you running is improving.

Keep Stopping When Running

Is It Bad To Stop During A Run?

When we are out running there are often periods we have to stop for several minutes that we can’t control. This can be from traffic lights, a bathroom break, your fitness level, or the speed you are running, but is it bad to stop during a run?

The short answer is yes for the more experienced runner. Stopping multiple times throughout a run is training the body to stop rather than teaching the body to adapt physically and mentally to the training.

For the newer runner the short answer is no. Stopping during a run is part of developing your current fitness and allowing the body to adapt to the stresses placed on it. As you get fitter you will find the number of stops during a run becomes less.

When you start running its important to not overreach and push above your means. This means including some walking or stops into your running plan (Such as the couch to 5k plan) until you can run without stopping.

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If your running focuses on wellbeing rather than performance, stopping during a run isn’t going to affect you so much. If anything it can make the run more enjoyable where you can soak up the views out on the trails or enjoy a drink stop with fellow runners.

No matter what your fitness level stopping during a run provides both a positive and negative side to it.


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