What Do Long Distance Runners Truly Think About?

Long distance runners (marathoners and ultra runners, specifically) are a weird breed, myself included. For starters, we’re the kinds of people who sign up to run really long distances, sometimes even overnight, sometimes even uphill…for fun! And if that’s not enough, we subject ourselves to a myriad of fun things, like dealing with upset runner’s tummy, sore, tired legs, blistered feet, chafing in all the wrong places, and eating strange foods (gels, boiled potatoes with salt, electrolyte tablets, and sports drinks). But perhaps even worse for some than the chafing and sore legs, is the fact that we subject ourselves to hours of being completely and totally alone with ourselves – our thoughts, our internal monologue, and our very active minds and imaginations.

runners mind

So what do long distance runners really think about while they are out logging long miles? Is it the blisters? Sore legs? The next uphill climb? The finish line? Something else? Well…yes.

For most runners, logging long miles is a very solitary activity, meaning there is often plenty of time, maybe some would even argue, too much time to think. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a long distance runner, here are 5 things that routinely go through my mind while I put in the paces.

I think (a LOT) about running.

While I am out logging the miles, I spend an awful lot of time thinking about running. I think about how my body feels, how fast my legs are moving, how I am going to make it to the next aid station, and at what pace I am going to get up the next hill.

I find myself thinking things (sometimes even out loud) like this hill is a real b*#$%! Or, one of my all time favorites, why am I doing this? My legs are killing me. I feel like crap. I hate running. And of course there’s the positive thoughts, like, man, I’m going to really finish this race strong. I’m crushing these uphills right now. Just passed two more runners. Need to keep them at a distance and keep gaining on them. Go. Go. Gooooo.

So while there is definitely time for completely spacing out, the fact that you’re running never strays too far from the brain.


I contemplate all of life’s toughest topics.

I think about life, relationships, and other tough, personal topics. Sometimes I find that I have revelations that are so profound, and so seemingly life changing that it almost makes me want to stop running and write everything down. In those moments, the thoughts swirling around always feel like blow your mind, OMG, I’ll never be able to think about this particular topic in this way again or they make you feel emotional.

I often find myself thinking about my husband out there supporting me and what that means on a deeper relationship level, and then the tears start coming. I never know if the tears are 100% for the gratitude and love I am feeling towards him in that moment or partially due to the energy depletion and often sleep deprivation.


I think big picture.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I do some of my best thinking during a run. When I’m stumped or feeling stuck at work, or trying to think more big picture, I find that my most creative and thoughtful ideas come while mid-mile.

I’ve actually learned to use running as a tool for brainstorming or problem solving. It helps me clear my mind and look at things with a fresh lens. For me, running has become a tool not just for fitness, but also for mental rejuvenation, problem solving, and brain stimulation.

I formulate new ways to challenge myself.

When I’m in the middle of a run, I often find myself wondering how I could push myself farther, or go faster, or be a better human, in general. I try to formulate ways to continue challenging myself and often find myself living in this inspired dreamworld for a few miles.

I will often imagine myself waking up earlier, tackling more miles, and running with more lightning speed than ever before. I think about all the ways I’m going to stop eating candy, or stop being cranky with my husband. Or stop getting annoyed with my parents. I think about how I’m going to get back to my daily meditation practice. And read more books. And eat more vegetables. And make more things from scratch.

And in those moments, those miles, everything seems like pure bliss.

I don’t just think, I have full on conversations with my belly.

If you stopped me at some point during a long run or race and asked me what I was thinking, there’s a very strong chance that I would tell you I was thinking about my digestion. Since my nutrition has often been one of the most difficult parts of long distance running for me, I often find myself thinking about what I am going to eat and drink, and / or what I ate and why I am feeling a particular way. I stay in tune with my belly while I run and often will ask it, how it’s feeling. One of my biggest nightmares is having digestive issues in the middle of the race – because as we all know – crapping out on a run is never any fun.

Speaking of bellies and digestion, if you haven’t already heard, thanks to Amazing Grass’s new Belly Elixir, their health food powder full of probiotics and adaptogenic herbs that support gut health, this whole week is dedicated to the BELLY. That’s right, we’ll be talking about better digestion and the role of a healthier gut on a healthier you! If you haven’t yet tried Amazing Grass’s new Belly Elixir,a delicious blend of farm fresh greens and herbs that will help balance your energy levels and support your gut whether you mix it into water or add it to your favorite smoothie recipe.

Join me for the Amazing Grass #FeelAmazingEveryDay Challenge on Instagram and you’ll have a chance to win awesome prizes, like a gift basket of all of Amazing Grass’ new products, including their new Belly Elixir, along with a lot of their other great products (like their new Effervescents tablets and our old favorite, Protein Superfood powders!).

So belly up and join us for this fun challenge!

Follow the prompts below or on Instagram, and post at least one photo to your Instagram grid  and at least one photo to your Instagram story using all of the following tags: @AmazingGrass #feelamazingeveryday #elixirsquad #belly #elixirs #sweatpink @fitapproach #sweatpinkpartner #ad for your chance to win!

  • Monday, September 18: With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to rebalance and nourish your body! We’re loving the new @AmazingGrass #BellyElixir for digestive support – it contains 1 CFU billion probiotics, prebiotics such as Yacon Root, and more! What are you doing to get back on track this week? Don’t forget to tag all the tags: @AmazingGrass #feelamazingeveryday #elixirsquad #belly #elixirs #sweatpink @fitapproach #sweatpinkpartner #ad


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  • Friday, September 22: Get ready for the freakin’ weekend with a little sparkle and shine! And why don’t ya make that a green sparkle while you’re at it by adding the @AmazingGrass Green Superfood Effervescent tab to your water. It’s rich with antioxidants, greens, and vitamins, perfect prep for the fun weekend ahead! Drop it like it’s….Friyay! #feelamazingeveryday #sweatpink #sweatpinkpartner @fitapproach #dropfizzfeelamazing #ad


In partnership with Amazing Grass. We so appreciate your support of the brands who partner with Fit Approach and the #sweatpink community! <3 Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Fitness

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