Motivation Articles

Hitting That Big Old Wall

How to Keep Going When You Feel Like Stopping

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Just about everyone has heard of the "Wall," as in "hitting the wall." And lots of us - in running and in life - have run straight into it. Head on.

A wall is the point in a race (or in life) where you're used up. You're officially done. You feel as if you are draining away into a little puddle on the ground. Your legs don't respond to the word "go." You vow never to do this again.

Although I hope you never have a wall get between you and a goal, here are some tricks I've learned from running that can help you get over your own wall when it's in the way:

Keep going regardless
Promise yourself that, no matter what, you will press on, even if you are walking, crawling, or puttering. In the Boston Marathon in 1993, I was running so slowly to the finish that I felt like I was actually going backwards. Stay on your feet. Eyes straight ahead. Move.

Don't think
Just go. Do not dwell on how overwhelmingly awful you feel. Focus on the cheering crowds, your friends and family waiting at the finish, the cool water, the trees... anything.

Try bribery
Tell yourself, "Self, when I get done with this, I'm going to buy you a new car, a new house, whatever you want." Continued ›

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About The Author

Julie Isphording Julie Isphording
Julie, a former Olympic marathon runner, is an author, radio host and fitness expert.

Member Comments

  • Yipes, But a New House?
    - 7/14/2014 8:39:24 PM
  • When I did my first full marathon I hit the wall hard at mile 19. I had to keep telling myself to remember relentless forward progress - no matter how slow. The feeling of crossing the finish line made up for it. A marathon really is a 10K with a 20 mile warmup LOL. - 6/15/2014 1:11:58 PM
  • Thanks for the message today, It was talking straight to me! - 5/10/2014 6:27:42 AM
  • Great article. - 6/16/2013 5:57:33 PM
  • Two years ago I did a marathon after not running or competing for a number of years. I hit the wall, but I kept hearing the voice of Dory in "Finding Nemo," "just keep swimming, swimming..." over and over. - 4/10/2013 10:57:57 AM
  • This is exactly what I needed because I'm at that wall now! This is the encouragment I need to get back on track!!!!! - 6/13/2012 7:27:33 AM
  • Absolutely love this article. Thanks for the great endurance tips! - 4/1/2012 9:56:25 PM
  • This article could not have been timed better. I ran my longest run today ever, 14 miles, and there were numerous times that I waned to hist stop on the treadmill and just throw in the towel. Thank you for reminding me that I am stronger than I believe and giving strategies to help me get over the wall, - 1/22/2012 4:49:35 PM
  • Thanks, I just needed to read that today. It really helped me keep going. - 1/22/2012 3:33:54 PM
  • Frankly I think overriding your body when you are driving it too hard and its begging for rest, is terrible for your adrenals as well as your entire body.

    Guess that's why I don't run marathons!
    : )
    Mzzchief
    - 1/22/2012 10:45:40 AM
  • Best Part

    Finish Line Pose.... Getting stronger sound track playing in my head.

    Thanks
    - 10/7/2011 7:17:03 AM
  • LAURENGUNDRUM
    I definitely know what you're talking about - everyone who has run a long race can pinpoint exactly when they hit the wall. For me it was at mile 18 during the Philly marathon. I kept going because I was running with a friend and didn't want to hold her back, so that's another good way to motivate yourself - be accountable to someone else. - 10/6/2011 9:37:00 AM
  • Good topic. I love its emphasis on running! - 12/26/2010 12:19:43 PM
  • EDA540NA
    This is my first comment on any article. I've been working on diet/exercise since Jan. and losing ground lately. It was the perfect info at the right time. THANK YOU! - 10/15/2010 2:03:46 AM
  • This was really appropriate because when I hit the wall, I feel bad enough already - lightheartedness is like a second wind. Especially loved the bribery suggestion, LOL. - 10/14/2010 10:31:20 AM

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