Quitting Is Out Of The Question

April 7, 2013

There are only two things that may stop you from running: injury and attitude. The former is something that is (most of the time) beyond one’s control, but what about the latter? What about that voice between your ears that is telling you to stop, to give up?
You see, mental attitude is a huge factor in running; it’s the determination that makes you keep going when you feel you want to stop, to throw in the towel. In fact, a positive mental attitude is one of the most important things a runner needs.
We all have days when we wonder if it’s really worth it, and when we’re feeling so miserable that all we want to do is quit.
It’s precisely in those moments that you have to remind yourself of the importance of pushing forward.
Credit: Image courtesy of fitnesspo.tumblr.com

Running is a lot about self-belief. It might be after your first step or at mile 3, but at some point you’ll need to tell yourself “Damn, I can do it!” and not give in to doubt.
One of the biggest challenges in running is the gradual buildup of mental tiredness. When it hits you, that’s exactly when you need to keep focused and don’t let the negative thoughts cloud your brain, ignore them and keep going. It’s when things seem worst that you should not quit.
Mental toughness in running comes with experience and you need to work at it. Once you master it, it stands you in good stead to handle anything that comes your way, especially when you feel like quitting.
If you just started, it’s important that you set realistic goals.You need targets that challenge you, but don’t break you.
Feed your motivation by attaining constant incremental successes. It boosts your confidence and makes you feel that you’re moving in the right direction.
Also, it doesn’t help to be overly critical about how fast or how far you’ve run. Stay positive and look at every run as a new opportunity that was given you to become better at it.
Rest if you must, but don’t quit, Remember that success is failure turned inside.
Michael Jordan once said:
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeeded.
So keep at it, even when you feel that you have taken three steps back. Failing is part of the process but when you’re out there running, quitting is out of the question!


  1. Thank you for writing this post. Last month I started running, my aim was to run 1.5 miles without stopping. While the first few runs were very hard and I stopped about 4 times, I have kept on running with the aim to get better and improve.

    I agree that it is the voice in your head you need to win over and push further and that is something I am trying to focus on.



  2. I love the sentiment in this post. I was a great long-distance runner in hs and then suddenly stopped. Throughout college and grad school I only flirted with the occasional "I'm going to get back into running" phase, but I always *did* quit because I let my poor health (due to unknown Celiac issues at the time) dominate my attitude - I couldn't stand not being the runner I once was. When I started feeling healthy again, I had left New York city, moved to the Midwest, and became a post-doc and was inspired to take advantage of the beautiful scenery for "real". Now, four years later, I have maintained a positive attitude such that even when I don't feel like going out, I still do so and once I get into my run, it always goes well. The biggest attitude change was recognizing I'm not that hs girl anymore - that at 30 and coming off of not being well for many years, I have to work much harder. Yet, each new success, each new goal met (and they keep occurring) is another big motivator. If anything, I believe for this reason, I'm a stronger and better runner today than I ever was (even if I can't run quite as fast for quite as long).

  3. i love this post. i have an injury, so i fall in category one. but, it took me years to build up my mental toughness - once i got it - you can go forever. after a certain fitness level is reached, running is 90% mental...