How to Focus During Your Run

Robert Marshall

Many runners like myself enjoy using a run to gather their thoughts. If I do not have a time goal this approach tends to help me run that little bit further, as well as finding solutions to life’s problems. However if you are running a timed race, studies have found that runners who monitor their body signals are the fastest and tend to lead the race, whereas those like myself who let their mind wander are generally left at the back of the pack. Paying attention to your body’s signals also helps in avoiding injuries.



Here are some tips to help keep you focused through the race.


Listen to those signals. Keep checking on what your body is telling you and how it feels. Can your legs handle the speed, how does your rhythm feel? A mental checklist may help, starting at the top of the body and working down. Remembering simple keywords or phrases such as “Arms” or “Back Straight” could keep your main issues locked down. Whenever your mind starts to wander remind yourself to pay attention. That said, you don’t have to be completely strict with yourself. Just ensure you have a flexible monitoring strategy.


Counting. Using a counting technique can help you stay focused during long races. By counting up to one hundred repeatedly you keep yourself in the present, and don’t allow any negative thoughts to surface. Counting will also help keep up your rhythm.


Keep positive. It may sound obvious, but keeping positive allows you to push on further in the race. Positive self-talk is a great way of keeping away any negative thoughts. Replace any phrases such as “I can’t make this” or “I can’t finish the race” to “I can do this”. Not only will it help finish the race, but this approach generally can help you go a long way. Build this into your training routine to make it habit.


Breathing. Focusing on your breathing can help calm any anxiety you may be having about the race, as well as helping you focus on specific goals. Instead of worrying about what has happened, or how much further you have to go, you are focusing on the now. This helps you stay focused and allows your body to be more efficient.



Although these tips don’t cover everything, they are a good starting point to begin working into your training routines. If you have any tips and pointers to help other runners let us know in the comments below!


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