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Thoughts while running: 45 thoughts every runner has while out for a run


I have many thoughts while running.

Often, it’s just me and my mind for well over half an hour.

Running offers me that much needed peace and quiet, away from my busy, modern lifestyle, away from technology.

If you’re anything like me, you go for a run and have what feels like a million and one thoughts going through your mind:

  • “Why do I feel so tired already?”
  • “How fast should I be going?”
  • “Do I even like running?”

You may think that you’re the only runner to have these types of random thoughts while running, but you’d be surprised to know that you’re not alone!

In fact, runners are notorious for having inner monologues with ourselves.

After all, when you’re alone for miles and miles, you become your own best friend.

Related: How to believe in yourself: Running and self confidence

thoughts while running

How your motivation to run affects your thoughts while running

Motivation plays a huge role when it comes to running.

Whilst there isn’t a magic formula that will get you out of the door each time, it’s important you find a reason that is personal to you as to why you want to go for a run.

Whether you’re running to lose weight, get fit or simply get outdoors more, running motivation is highly personal.

According to Strava’s 2020 study on running motivation and why we run, there are five runner types:

  • Passionate
  • Invested
  • Fitness
  • Mindful
  • Reluctant

Here is a breakdown for each runner type:

Passionate runners

Passionate runners hold high expectations that running will help them experience happiness and accomplish new things.

This type of runner enjoys running in groups and attending races/events.

Invested runners

Invested runners enjoy the experience of running.

They have moderate beliefs that running provides psychological benefits like happiness or accomplishment.

This type of runner participate often in running events and are highly likely to belong to formal groups.

Fitness runners

This type of runner rarely participates in running events and mainly runs alone.

They do, however, enjoy running in groups.

Their motivation to run is for health, body image and strength.

Mindful runners

Mindful runners like to run alone and rarely participate in running events.

Similar to ‘Invested’ runners, they value happiness, accomplishment and accountability.

Reluctant runners

Unsurprisingly, the reluctant runner came out top with 28% of runners claiming to be reluctant runners.

They rarely compete in running events and often run alone.

They perceive the fewest social or psychological benefits of running.

Related: How to motivate yourself to go for a run

thoughts while running

How to leverage your thoughts while running and stop the self sabotage

The different runner types got me thinking about the types of thoughts that runners have when out for a run. 

For example, a reluctant runner may be more likely to experience self-sabotage while running in the form of negative or critical thoughts:

  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “I can’t do this”
  • “I’m a failure”

Start replacing your inner critic with your positive inner voice.

Put aside the negative self talk and practice positive affirmation:

  • “I am good enough”
  • “I can do this”
  • “I will succeed”

The more you create a positive, confident internal dialogue, the more your mind will start to believe it.

Related: How to stop negative thoughts while running

thoughts while running

Thoughts while running: 45 thoughts every runner has while out for a run

  1. Wow, what a beautiful day for a run.
  2. Oh my gaaadddd I’ve been running for less than 1 minute and I already feel out of breath.
  3. This feels awful! My body just doesn’t want to run today…
  4. I think I’ll just run 5k today. That feels achievable.
  5. How fast should I be going? I feel like I could go a bit faster.
  6. Oh nope. Too fast.
  7. Okay it’s starting to feel a little bit easier. How far have I been running?
  9. Do I even like running?
  10. I wonder what I look like when I run.
  11. I feel like a leaping gazelle.
  12. Oh look another runner. I better speed up and breath a little harder.
  13. I’m going to take over…
  14. Wow that felt great.
  15. Ok I’m going to slow down now. I better run this way so they don’t see me slowing down.
  16. What are these people doing in front of me? Can they not hear me coming? Move out of the way, people!
  17. Maybe if I pound my feet harder they’ll hear me coming and let me pass.
  18. I hope they don’t think some mad woman chasing them.
  19. Okay, the road it is.
  20. Cyclists you’re just going to have to let me pass. You can swerve.
  21. Ah a pedestrian crossing. Hurry up green light, hurry up green light.

22. Oh my god it’s the longest red light EVER!

23. I better jog on the spot so it looks like I’m taking this seriously.

24. Finally! Now I’m free!

25. Wow. This feels great. I feel like I could run forever.

26. But wait, if I run four more miles, that means I have to run six miles back. Can I do that?

27. Is it cheating if I get the train back?

28. Soooo looking forward to nice warm shower when I get back. I feel like a sweaty mess.

29. What should I eat? Something healthy…

30. But a pizza would go down a treat right now. Ooh and a chocolate milkshake! They’re good for you right?

31. Yes, that’s right, I’m running. Stare all you like.

32. Wow that jogger looks so serene. How can she look so amazing whilst running?

33. I wonder what I look like when running?

34. Oh no is that a blister I can feel? Better run faster…

35. I’m so close to home yay!

36. So, a running a marathon means I’d have to do this run SEVEN times.

37. …………

38. I’d need to train for like, forever!

39. But everyone looks so happy when they do the London Marathon.

40. I’m going to sign up for it.

41. Yayyy! Home time. Now I really need the loo.

42. Wow. I feel great. I feel like I could do that all over again.

43. Maybe not.

44. Now for a lovely hot shower. I deserve it.

45. I guess running isn’t so bad after all.

Caroline Geoghegan



Monday 17th of January 2022

hi C, Quirky selection of runnning thoughts, though must be said clearly from woman's perspective. If a man's thoughts were to be incorporated, then 'sex' certainly would probably be a regular thought when running...regardless of the weather, distance, etc. Stay well. P

Brian Hatwell

Sunday 27th of December 2020

love this page so true lol. shared on my site.


Thursday 10th of September 2020

This was hilarious. I think my favorite one was I just started why am I already tired! I think it’s just having to get my body warmed up. I literally start running from my doorstep. I don’t stretch or anything. Oh oh and then I wonder how I look running. I tell myself I need to make this look easy. If it doesn’t look easy well then I need to get my body under control. Thanks for sharing.

Run With Caroline

Friday 11th of September 2020

It's so true though isn't it! I think many runners think they are alone with their thoughts, but no! Every runner, no matter their experience, has these types of thoughts! Glad you enjoyed it :)