Don’t get me wrong, running is fun, enjoyable, and rewarding; at times though, it is really hard!
When it is hard, these are the Dark Runs WE ALL have at some point of our running training.

The ones you spend most of the time trying to convince yourself it’s ok to slow your running down, cut it short, walk, or even stop all together, and get a taxi home….


These are the runs that feel harder than you think they should feel, leaving you to question why you are running at all. The internal conversations during these runs can be detrimental, unhelpful, and convincing to say the least. It’s during these runs where you truly catch a glimpse of where your mental toughness is at, and will reveal areas of your running (or even life) that you need to focus on.

During these runs, I ask my friend K.E.N to help me out.

K = Key Fundamentals
E = Efficiency
N = New Normal

When dealing with adversity while running, or when it simply gets tough, remember K.E.N.


Key Fundamentals
What are the key things you need to focus on in order for you to keep running, and get you to your end goal for this run?
This could be but not limited to;
Food, are you eating enough, or have you ate too much?

Hydration, when was the last time you took a sip of something, do you need to constantly pee, so are you drinking too much?
How much energy do you have, why is that?
Thoughts, are they negative, and telling you that you can’t. Can you change them to make them more neutral or even positive?


Are there things in your control while running, which you can alter in order to make it easier?
Can you be more efficient with how you are trying to get from where you are now, to your end goal?
Technique, do a quick head to toe check that you are being efficient with your running technique.
Foot placement, has it altered, do you need to alter it?
Is your kit comfortable, should you alter it, move it, or change it?
Your pace, will slowing down now help you better later in your run or race?


New Normal
If you have gone through your “checklist” of the above items, done all you can, and are still having a tough time while running; it’s time to accept that this is just your new normal, for now!

Accepting that how you feel is simply the new normal for you, starts with not fighting the feeling. Relax into the discomfort, take some deep breaths, be friends with the pain, and stop trying to make it your enemy – become friends with it. (Even name it!)
Understand that this pain/discomfort/adversity you are experiencing while running will pass, and in order to achieve your goal for this run, you must persevere with it.
Remember WHY you run, the deep rooted reason, the one that gets you excited when you tell others why you run. Also, acknowledge why you are running right now, this particular session or race.

Once you go through and make friends with K.E.N you may realise your run has just got hard again. When this happens, it is time to Rinse & Repeat the K.E.N process until you complete your run, or cross your finishing line with your arms raised high above your head celebrating that you achieved your running goal with a little help from your new friend K.E.N.



Drop me an email so we can organise a free call to see if we are a good fit.



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