10 Tips to Race Tough

The Tough Keep Going

  • 85 percent have never dropped out of a race
  • 70 percent say a bad run doesn't ruin their day
  • 63 percent would never take a pill to PR
  • 46 percent say their brains give out before bodies on long runs
  • 40 percent have never cried during or after a race

Based on respondents to RunnersWorld.com polls

4. Think Hard

"I've learned that when I really focus on one thing, I won't think about what hurts," says James of Fort Worth, Texas. Lindsey Schaffer of Pullman, Washington, says, "I make sure my shoulders aren't tense, my footfalls are straight and firm, my back is straight, and that each breath is deep. The miles have passed before I know it."

More: 5 Tips to Improve Your Running Form

Patrick Gerini of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, says he concentrates on the sound of his footfalls and breathing: "I hypnotize myself this way." Ric Stewart of Lyons, Georgia, suggests thinking about body parts that don't hurt: "My index finger feels great!"

5. Remember the Reward

"I bargain with myself-I don't have to do anything for the rest of the day, and I can eat whatever I want," says Ashleigh Griffin of Midland, Texas. Margaret Turner thinks about her postrun steak and big glass of red wine. Kendra Pudlowski of Jefferson City, Missouri, reminds herself that she lost 118 pounds in the past year through diet and exercise. "I recently won my age division at a local 5K," she says. "Running is what sets me apart from others around me struggling to be healthy."

More: Defining Your Goal

6. Listen Up

"The best thing to keep me going is a song in my head," says Nathan Gringras of Richmond, Virginia. Like many runners, Joel Harrison of Fair Oaks, California, goes for the theme song to Chariots of Fire. "Mos Def & Massive Attack's song 'I Against I' helps me remember that it is only a battle between my mind and my body," says Cathryn Windham of Austin, Texas.

John Frenette of San Francisco, likes all kinds of aggressive music. "It helps me dig deeper and re-channel energy," he says. Jean Owen prefers the spoken word. "When I feel like I'm about to give in, I switch to an audiobook," she says. "I like thrillers and mysteries-they keep me on edge."

More: Can Music Make You a Better Runner?

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