Even if you started your run with the best form, the best mindset, and the best plan for fuel and hydration, things can start to slide after a few miles. It’s important to check in with yourself occasionally midrun.
This is true on all runs, but especially during long runs when you likely will become more fatigued.
Correct what needs correcting so you stay on the right track.
Midrun Check In
The acronym I’ve used for years for midrun check ins started out as BFF, but it has gradually expanded, though it has stayed in the B & F family.
As you run, check in with yourself, and ask yourself these questions.
How is my breathing?
You are still running, so I’ll go ahead and assume you are still breathing, but how you breathe on the run has a huge impact on your run. Breathing deeply (or the failure to do so) can have a significant impact on your stress levels and tension.
During your run, make sure you are breathing deeply and getting enough air into your lungs.
Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling the air fill your belly, chest, lungs.
Hold the air in a few moments, then release slowly, relaxing muscles.
Visualize clean air circulating throughout your body.
Visualize stresses, tension and struggle being released as you release your breath.
If you are doing a long run or another comfortable pace run, make sure you are able to talk with your running partners without gasping for breath.
What am I thinking about on the run?
What images am I seeing in my head as I run?
Are those words and images positive or negative?
While griping and complaining midrun with your running partners can be fun and a little bit cathartic, the mind believes what it hears. So nip negative thoughts and conversations in the bud.
Have a positive mantra you can recite to yourself or mental images of you running strong, confidently striding up a hill, or passing other runners. Focus on staying positive.
How is my form?
Running form is one of the first things to slip as you get tired. Even the best running form can start to get a little sloppy as you fatigue. Check in with your body and your running form as you run.
Are your shoulders down and relaxed?
Are you running upright or have you started to hunch over?
How are your feet? Are you picking them up or have you started to shuffle? Shuffling your feet will greatly increase the chances you’ll trip and fall (I know this first-hand).
You’ll likely have a few consistent form breaks that you’ll slip into as you get tired. Pay attention to your form and learn where you start to slip or hold stress as you run.
Check in with those areas regularly and be sure you keep those areas loose.
Is my jaw clenched?
Your face holds a surprising amount of stress and tension.
As you run, check in with your face. Make sure you are keeping your face feeling loose and you aren’t clenching your jaw.
How is my fueling and hydration?
When was the last time you ate something?
When was the last time you drank?
Have you been hydrating enough?
Make sure you are fueling and hydrating enough to get you through your run. Especially during longer runs, it can be a good idea to drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry.