How To Keep Running When It Hurts

Running is a sport that many people find enjoyable and fulfilling. However, there are times when running can feel difficult and even painful. In this article, I will share my personal tips and insights on how to keep running when it hurts.

Listen to Your Body

One of the most important things to remember when running is to listen to your body. Pay attention to any signs of pain or discomfort. While some discomfort is normal, it’s crucial to differentiate between pain that is a result of pushing your limits and pain that could potentially lead to an injury.

In my experience, it’s essential to know the difference between muscle soreness and an actual injury. If you feel pain in a specific area, try to determine the source of the pain. Is it a minor ache that can be attributed to muscle fatigue, or is it a sharp pain that persists even after you stop running? If it’s the latter, it might be best to rest and seek medical advice if necessary.

Set Realistic Goals

While pushing yourself is important for growth, it’s equally important to set realistic goals. Running with pain shouldn’t mean running until you collapse. Instead, set achievable goals that challenge you without compromising your well-being.

For instance, if you usually run five miles comfortably but are experiencing discomfort, consider reducing your distance to three miles. This way, you can still maintain your running routine and gradually work your way back up to your usual distance once the discomfort subsides.

Focus on Proper Form and Technique

When running with pain, it becomes even more crucial to focus on proper form and technique. This includes maintaining good posture, landing softly with each step, and ensuring that your stride is efficient.

One common mistake that can exacerbate pain is overstriding, which can lead to increased impact on your joints. Instead, try to shorten your stride and increase your cadence, aiming for a quicker turnover of your feet while maintaining a comfortable pace.

Utilize Cross-Training and Rest Days

Running is an intense activity that puts stress on your body, so it’s crucial to incorporate cross-training and rest days into your routine. Cross-training activities, such as cycling or swimming, can help strengthen different muscle groups and give your joints a break from the repetitive impact of running.

Rest days are just as important as training days. They allow your body to recover and repair itself. Don’t feel guilty about taking a day off from running if you’re experiencing pain. It’s better to take a break and come back stronger than to push through the pain and risk further injury.

Stay Positive and Motivated

Lastly, remember to stay positive and motivated during your runs. It’s normal to have days when running feels more challenging than usual, but maintaining a positive mindset can make a significant difference in your running experience.

Find ways to keep yourself motivated, such as listening to upbeat music, setting small milestones to achieve during your run, or running with a friend who can provide support and encouragement. Remind yourself of the reasons why you started running in the first place, and let that drive you forward even when it hurts.


Running with pain is undoubtedly a challenge, but it’s not impossible. By listening to your body, setting realistic goals, focusing on proper form, utilizing cross-training and rest days, and staying positive and motivated, you can keep running even when it hurts. Remember, running is a journey, and it’s important to prioritize your overall well-being. Push through the discomfort when possible, but also know when it’s essential to rest and recover. Happy running!