Every experienced runner knows what it is like to become overwhelmed by that uneasy feeling on the run. These moments are when something inside us tells us to stop during our runs. In these moments, the easiest thing to do is to give in to the feeling and stop during your runs. But is it bad to stop during a run?
Stopping while running is not bad when there is a strong motive behind it. While running through the countryside, you may encounter some beautiful natural scenery. To enjoy this scene, you may stop. However, in some cases, stopping during your runs can also negatively impact your motivation and your workout routine, particularly running.
Read on to find out more about what causes most runners to stop during a run, tips on keeping running even when you don’t feel like it, and all the benefits of taking breaks during a long run. You might also enjoy reading: Does Running Tone Truly Your Arms? (Find out how!)
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Why Avoid Stopping While Running?
If you are a regular runner and some thoughts urge you to stop while running, remember the following to prevent you from stopping while running.
1- Stopping During Your May Cause a Waste of Energy
When you’re running with a particular pace and rhythm, and something suddenly urges you to stop, this will be very costly.
When you stop and start running again, you will need a lot of energy to resume. Also, you will waste a fair amount of energy for nothing. This is the major effect of stopping while running continuously. It will waste your body’s energy for nothing.
2- You Might Face Pacing Issues
It is easy to carry on when you are running at a particular pace. However, when you stop, you lose your previous pace. This will cause disturbance as you will have to build your pace again.
You can use the run/walk method, which is an effective way to build stamina and allow your body to adjust to the impact of running. It also helps prevent injuries and helps you stick with it (because it’s probably not as painful!). Run slow, and walk when you need to.
4- Affects Stamina
Running with a certain pace and particular rhythm will help you build stamina.
If you keep on stopping during such an activity, you will decrease your chance of building stamina.
5- Hard to Notice Your Progress
If you are running regularly at a particular pace and rhythm, you can see changes that regular practice brings.
But when you are used to stopping while running, you can’t notice your progress. This is another drawback of stopping while running.
6- Affect Your Mental Toughness
If your mind allows you to stop while running, you are sending signals to your subconscious mind that you are not mentally strong enough to run longer. You will have to work on your mental training when you feel such a situation.
However, always remember that the most important thing is to get out there and enjoy the physical activity of running. And, sometimes, stopping during your run is far better than pushing through and overdoing it. If you are not enjoying your runs, what is the point of running?
Is It Actually Bad to Take Walk Breaks While Running?
Walking will not change the fact that you are on the grind, putting in time and miles (or km). More importantly, listen to your body, and don’t feel bad for listening to your body.
If your body tells you to walk, walk, and don’t worry. Walking for a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes does not make your runs any less beneficial or worthwhile.
In addition, walking during your runs will help you go further, and a short recovery break is always good. Going further means more time and longer runs, which will help improve your overall endurance.
However, if you consistently have to stop every easy run (less than 5k) or in the middle of workout sessions, you may need to reevaluate your fitness and adjust your training load.
- It Is OK for a beginner to take walk breaks while running. This practice will help you restore your breath which will help you build stamina. Moreover, as a beginner, you may face any remarkable injury due to running. To prevent this, it’s OK to take a break from running and start walking.
- However, once you’re trained enough, any pause during running is not justifiable. This will bring lots of negative impacts on your workout progress.
- If it is because of injuries (like your feet pains), maybe see a physio to find the underlying reason and address that. You can also consider adopting Jeff Galloway’s run-walk method‘s principles into your running.
Is it OK To Take Breaks During a Long Run?
Taking breaks during a long run is totally acceptable. Remember, the fact you are even out there puts you in the top 5% fitness group anyway.
Over 76 percent of people over 18 in the United States don’t exercise sufficiently. Only 23.2 met Physical Activity Guidelines for both muscle-strengthening and aerobic activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Even elite marathoners stop for water, tie their shoes, stop for traffic, check distance if they can’t read their watches, and even occasionally take scenic pictures.
Is It Good To Take a Week Off Running?
Taking a whole week off running is a good habit. According to a recent European Journal of Sport Science study, two weeks of detraining helped maintain muscle endurance in male runners and increased lean mass.
Taking short breaks during your runs offers tremendous benefits when you manage them properly. Below are a few benefits of taking short breaks during your runs.
Benefits of Taking Breaks During a Long Run
Taking breaks during a long run provides tremendous benefits; below are a few benefits of taking breaks during a long run.
1- Prevents Muscle Fatigue and Increases Muscle Mass
A 2021 study issued in the European Journal of Sport Science examined the effects of a two-week detraining period in 15 endurance-trained male athletes.
Researchers found that while the athletes lost some aerobic fitness, they increased lean muscle mass and maintained their level of muscle endurance.
Keep in mind that you don’t gain fitness during your workouts and runs. You actually gain fitness when you rest, so taking a bit of time off to let your body rest can help build muscle mass and help your body recover fully.
With continuous running, your muscles may feel fatigued. Such a situation will favor an off week. When you rest for a week, your body muscle will relax. This also helps to enhance muscle strength.
2- Low Injury Risks
When you are tired of running, the risk of possible injuries increases. When you continue running despite the tiredness, it affects your muscles and bones and may lead to any physical injury. However, an off week will help prevent such harm.
Four-hour marathoners who took walk breaks completed in about the same time and sustained less muscle damage than those who didn’t, according to a study issued by the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.
3- Taking Breaks From Running Prevent Burnout And Injuries
Many runners wait until they have injuries before they take a break and end up having to take an extended period of time to recover.
A few planned breaks during the year will help prevent overtraining and prevent injuries before they happen.
Planning a few weeks of scheduled time off can also help you reset and refocus. And taking breaks also can help you appreciate running more.
4- Enhanced Performance
When you take a rest from regular running, it will motivate you to start with new enthusiasm. This will enhance your performance. Moreover, such an activity will help you remain fresh always as you’ll not feel bored.
Stopping during your run can be very good for your cardiovascular health. It is a staple in interval training, which is not a coincidence. This active rest prepares you for another episode of intensity.
The same analogy can be applied to distance running: If your mileage increases because you walk periodically, your cardiovascular health increases with the added mileage.
Is it OK To Quit Running?
If you are physically fit, I wouldn’t recommend quitting running. However, if you feel bored and used to running, you may consider taking time off with the goal of renewing your enthusiasm. Listen to your body for any cues that something is awry; stop and address them.
Ignoring signs of injury (like foot pains) and continuing to run is a great way to wind up with severe damage that keeps you from running long-term. Even if you just feel sluggish, it could signify that something is amiss, like poor nutrition and lack of sleep.
How Do You Keep Running Even When You Feel Like You Can’t?
Like anything else, there will be ups and downs during your running. How you manage these ups and downs will determine how the rest of your run will go. It also affects your confidence the next time you decide to put on your running shoes.
Here are a few tips to help you keep running even when you feel like you can’t continue your run.
- Don’t Adopt The Walk/Run Method Just Yet: If your goal is to complete your runs without walking, adopting the walk/run method can be demoralizing. It is okay to use the walk/run method when you feel like it, but I recommend you keep running at a slower pace. Slowing down helps you to relax and to catch your breath. Generally, the temptation to stop during your runs will pass when you slow down.
- Watch Your Running Form: Adopting the wrong running form can be against you during your runs. When you feel down during your run, try to adjust your body and mind. Imagine the runner in front of you is pulling you along by a string. Imagining being pulled along rather than pushing yourself will undoubtedly be an easier way to run. This mental game will make you feel relaxed, lighter, and optimistic.
- Use Distraction To Help You Keep Running: Even though you should be focused on your running form when running. But, sometimes, distracting yourself from your runs can help you push through the pain. Some runners listen to their favorite songs. I generally listen to podcasts or inspirational speeches. Try to find what will work for you and do it whenever you need to stop thinking about running.
- Treat Yourself With Your Goodies: Treating yourself with your goodies can physically and mentally give you a little boost and motivate you to keep going even if you feel like stopping. Anytime you complete a mile (1.60 km), allow yourself to enjoy another little treat.
- Remember Your “WHY”: We all run for different reasons. Are you running to lose weight, have more energy to play with your grandkids, stay healthy and live longer? Reminding yourself of your “WHY” is a powerful way to push yourself through the pain of running.
- Set a Few Rules If You Decide To Stop And Walk: If you still feel like stopping and walking after applying all the above tips, then go for it. Remember, there is no shame in walking during your runs, but try to set a few rules for yourself. The longer you walk, the harder it will be to get back running. Setting a limit to the distance you can walk is an excellent way of giving yourself a managed break. Some runners allow themselves 100 steps in long-distance runs and then get themselves back running again very slowly.
- More importantly, remember every runner you see on the road is fighting the same demon and mid-run setbacks. Learn to accept these demons as part of your running journey. The demons will never go away, and you will always feel like stopping and walking during your runs. The key is to learn how to recognize and better manage these moments (Trust me, they will arise).
Overall, it is totally okay to stop during a run; even elite runners stop to enjoy beautiful scenery, drink water, or even for traffic lights.
More importantly, keep your runs enjoyable and avoid anything that might lead to injury and potentially stopping to run permanently.