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How to Overcome Mental Barriers in Running

While you might have the physical stamina to complete a race, your mind can hold you back. Mental barriers can sabotage your performance and prevent you from achieving your goals.

You can overcome mental barriers in running by identifying your mental barriers, create a positive mindset and set realistic goals. You also may find joining a running group or joining a friend on a run beneficial for motivation.

Runner who is about to go on a run

Let’s look at how to overcome mental barriers in running so you can achieve your full potential.

What is a mental barrier in running

Before we dive into the strategies to overcome mental barriers in running, let's understand what mental barriers are. Mental barriers are negative thoughts, beliefs, or emotions that can limit your potential. In running, these barriers can be self-doubt, fear of failure, lack of motivation, and anxiety. These mental barriers can affect your performance and make running a difficult task.

Identify your mental barriers

The first step in overcoming mental barriers in running is to identify what is holding you back. When you go on your next run, pay attention you your thoughts and emotions before and during your runs. Ask yourself, what thoughts come to your mind when you are running? Are they positive or negative? For me during my runs I was thinking of what others thought of me. Do you have any fears or doubts that hold you back? Once you have identified your mental barriers, you can work on addressing them.

Create a positive mindset

A positive mindset is essential in overcoming mental barriers in running. Focus on the positive aspects of running, such as the feeling of accomplishment after a run or the joy of being outdoors. Another game changer is positive self-talk. When I started to encourage myself and using positive affirmations such as "I can do this," "I am strong,". I noticed not only more motivation to run but it caused a shift in my approach to running altogether and my performance skyrocketed.

Set realistic goals

Setting realistic goals can help you overcome mental barriers in running. Start with small goals can make them seem achievable. You should gradually increase these goals as you progress. This will help you build confidence and reduce the fear of failure.

Practice visualisation

Visualisation is a powerful tool in overcoming mental barriers in running. Try visualising yourself running with ease, feeling strong, and achieving your goals. This may help you build confidence and reduce anxiety. You can also visualise yourself overcoming specific mental barriers, such as motivation to go on the run.

Find a support system

Having a support system can help you overcome mental barriers in running. Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people. You could join a running group or find a running partner who can motivate you and hold you accountable.

Break up your runs

Breaking up your runs could help you overcome mental barriers such as boredom or fatigue. Divide your run into smaller segments and focus on one segment at a time. This can help you stay motivated and prevent mental fatigue.

Take care of your mental health

Taking care of your mental health is very important for overcoming mental barriers in running. Practice self-care activities such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. This can help you reduce stress and anxiety.


Mental barriers can be challenging to overcome, but with the right strategies, it is possible to achieve your full potential in running. With these tips, you can overcome mental barriers and enjoy running to the fullest.

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