If you’re going to try distance running, you’ll need to become a pro at generating energy when you feel like your reserves are spent.
Here are a few tried and tested ways to gain a second wind on a run”
1. Listen to motivating music – This one should be obvious enough. There’s nothing like the riffs of “Back in Black” or the opening notes of the Indiana Jones “Raider’s March” to put some pep in your step. The more “guilty pleasure” a song is, the better. Having a great song come up in rotation is like giving yourself a treat.
2. Eat junk food. Trail runners are especially notorious for stuffing terrible (if tasty) foods like Pop-Tarts into their bodies. Today an aid station I visited had Moon Pies. Letting yourself snack on these energy boosters will help with your blood sugar but also works well psychologically, especially if you do not normally eat sugary food.
3. Have a hard deadline. On at least a couple of occasions, knowing that I have to be somewhere else at a given time has made me run a bit faster and a bit harder. The fear of missing an appointment or being late for one can be a powerful additional energy source.
4. Give high-fives/fist-bumps. One of the best ways to get energy for yourself is to give it to others. When you see fellow trail runners coming your way, try to give them at least a head-nod, or better yet, a high-five or fist-bump. This reinforces the team vibe.
5. Impress the ladies/guys. There’s nothing like trailrunning to get repeated ego boosts from trail hikers. Hikers will often seem impressed when they see you zipping down a trail. This ego boost is especially gratifying (if vain) when the admirers are attractive members of the opposite sex. It may be vain, but it is certainly a nice motivator.
6. Get spiritual. Consider with gratitude the beautiful natural sights along your route, and the gloriousness of being physically fit. Gratitude and awe are powerful painkillers and energizers.
7. Race with others. Competition and friendship pair well on long runs. Get to know your fellow runners, use them as pacers and conversation partners, and then beat them. All of the above will give you energy to finish and also to go harder.