How to Turn a Bad Run into New Motivation

Photo: Matthew Green for RUNGRL

Photo: Matthew Green for RUNGRL

By Traci Scott

Ever had a run so terrible that you wanted to just throw in the towel, give up this whole running “thing”?

Not so fast, sis! We all have our good and not-so-good days. Every run will not be your best. Sure, we would all love to perform well on every run, but the tough runs are the ones that help shape our journey. In fact, I believe it’s the awful runs which transform us into better runners.  

There are countless times I’ve wanted to give up on running but didn’t. Since running for six years, I’ve had a LOT of horrible runs. Here are some helpful tips that have helped me continue to push through and come out better for it on the other side of the finish line:


After a bad run, it’s hard not to feel discouraged or defeated. Try changing your way of thinking. Start by switching thoughts of “I can’t do this” to “I’ll try again”. Running is a mental game and your body will respond to what your mind tells it. Fuel yourself with positive thoughts—negativity will get you nowhere!

Read More: Clean Up Negative ‘Automatic Thoughts’ to Stay Motivated


Don’t beat yourself up! Take some time out and think about the run afterwards instead of giving up right away. What are the areas that need improvement? What was it that made this a “bad” run? Once you nail these things down, you’ll find it less dreadful to get out there and try again. Give yourself grace because not every run will be perfect.


Do you have a running goal? If not, create one! Once a goal is set, you’ll have a commitment for which to strive. All that’s left is the will to accomplish it. Creating a goal will also keep you focused. Instead of dwelling on that bad run, use it as motivation to one-up yourself and crush the next one!

Read More: 5 Ways to Jump Back into Your Running Routine


Accountability is key on those days when you’re not feeling up to par on your own. Whether it’s a fellow running buddy or a running crew, surround yourself with people that are genuinely rooting for you and who will also hold you responsible for the goals you’ve just set.


A new running ensemble or even a new pair of kicks can boost your enthusiasm for the next run. We already know that when you look good, you feel good. But having the right gear can also help you feel more prepared. There’s something about that confidence boost that helps you perform better.

No matter where you are in your running journey (beginner, intermediate or advanced), you’re going to run into some challenges, since we ALL have room for improvement. The trick is not to get discouraged. Reach out to your accountability partner or link up with your local running crew for support and encouragement. Stay grounded (pun intended) and enjoy the next run!


Traci Scott


Traci Scott is a fitness/health enthusiast and avid runner. She is passionate about motivating and inspiring others through her own fitness journey, which she shares on her blog, Beauty Muscle Hustle.

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