What Do You Think About When Running?

Earlier this week my coach put the rest of my marathon training plan online, and seeing the word “MARATHON” on there actually took my breath away.

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Last weekend I not-so-humble bragged on Facebook that I had run 17 miles for the first time. The question that I’ve been asked the most since then is, “What do you think about when you’re running for that long?”

I think about…

  • Running up to the finish line in Portland (I’ve run that final mile so many times in my head).
  • Things I would talk to Scott Jurek about if I ever got to run with him.
  • How much it would cost to get Scott to cheer for me at my first ultra (I think $5,000 + travel expenses sounds reasonable, lol).
  • Where I would move if I absolutely had to leave Fort Lauderdale (California and Colorado come to mind since I think good running happens in those states!)
  • Top 10 tips I would give if someone told me they wanted to start running.
  • Things that other running bloggers write about.
  • What songs I should put on my marathon playlist.

Basically, when I’m running I think about running!

Oh and sometimes I do the 9 times table (9,18, 27, 36, 45, 54, etc.). I’m not sure why, but the 9s pop into my mind pretty frequently when I’m running. I really have no clue why. Some things in life just can’t be explained! : )

What do YOU think about when running? 



  1. Lily

    I get butterflies just thinking about registering for my first full marathon, so I can’t imagine how you must be feeling! I get that question a lot from my friends that don’t run, and I’m the same way, I usually think about running and my form. I also just look around and take in the sights, and then sometimes if I’m lucky I get lost in thought and the miles go by without even realizing it.
    Lily recently posted…Let’s Run ParisMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I love to zone out on runs too! Getting lost in a thought and coming back to reality after a couple miles is the best!

  2. Jennifer

    Haha I do math in my head as well! Often I think of food I want to eat afterwards (no surprise LOL).
    Jennifer recently posted…Friday Five – Things I Love About J&A RacesMy Profile

  3. cheryl

    Ha! I CANNOT do any math in my head when running. I joke that I am the only runner, who cannot figure out splits etc. while running. I blame it on runner’s brain. Seriously, in races I will pass a mile marker and get confused–“11. Does that mean I just completed 11 miles, or that I am heading to mile 11?” These things just don’t make any sense to me when I am running–don’t worry, when I am not running, I am baffled by my mental state too.
    I am pretty good at zoning out (obviously), getting lost (in my thoughts, and literally on the roads). When I listen to podcasts, I think about that. Oh, and I think about what I am going to eat after… 🙂
    I did spend a run sorting through this word game…”what other words, besides banana, have a vowel that repeats 3 times and only 2 other consonants…” A friend gave me that one to work on… 🙂
    cheryl recently posted…Saunders at Rye Harbor 10k Race RecapMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Zoning out is the sign of a GREAT run! I love when that happens!

      Ohhh word games are a great way to pass the time! I like that!

  4. Kim

    I think about all kinds of things while running – I do lots of number games. There are times that I count – to 10 or 100 over and over – I’m easily entertained!!!
    Kim recently posted…Birthdays Then and NowMy Profile

  5. Desiree @ RunSmiling

    What an interesting post. I have no idea what I think about when I run isn’t that sad?!?! I’ll have to think about what I’m thinking about next time 😉
    Desiree @ RunSmiling recently posted…How I PR’ed my last marathonMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Haha, I totally had to think about it … my first reaction to the question was “I don’t think at all!” but then I realized I do… although I tend to think about the same things over and over 🙂

  6. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    Most of the time I think about things that I have to do, my running goals, and how I am feeling. I also think about what I am going to eat when I get home!:)
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Why Runners Should Give Yoga A TryMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Towards the end of a long run I most definitely start planning out what I’m going to eat!

      Sometimes I run on the treadmill and watched Chopped! 🙂

  7. The running Schlub

    This is one of my big struggles. I start out the long run really smooth lots of things to think about. Late in the run I lose focus and think about how much my body is tired lol.

    Although my last half marathon on the trails was fantastic and not once did I think of having the wife come pick me up lol
    The running Schlub recently posted…Are You Down for a Great Cause??My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Oh no, you can’t think about how tired you are! Whenever I start that I put in my earbuds and blast my favorite song to distract my brain!

  8. Hanna

    I think about anything and everything on a long run, but mostly, I’m thinking about being DONE with the run, and how great it’s going to feel when it’s finally over and I can rest and go be a normal person who isn’t spending three hours running on a Saturday morning.
    Hanna recently posted…Reliving El Salvador – Part IMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Hahah, when I run in the early morning (which is not very often) I think about how good it will feel to take a shower and get right back into bed! 🙂

  9. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust

    I get asked this a lot too. I also get asked what I think about when I am out on my bike for hours. I like to play the “what if” game. When I am running, I will randomly think of things like “what if the sky were green and the trees were blue”, “what if we all had three legs and three arms”, “what if I woke up next to a million dollars tomorrow.” My thoughts get really random. I also think about my worries and stresses and try to let go.
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens Race Recap: Bike and RunMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Playing the what-if game is a good idea!

      I try really hard to not think about things that are stressing me out when I run. I like to keep running as positive me-time, but I know a lot of people are able to work through problems on a run.

  10. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    I am glad you picture the final mile at Portland and I can’t wait to hear about your actual experience running that last, final mile!!!! I usually listen to podcasts when I run long, so I either think about the podcast.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Lots of RANDOM things!My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I hope it turns out to be just as good as I am picturing it to be!

      I wonder if I’ll cry happy tears, sometimes when I’m picturing it I start tearing up! HAH!

  11. Courtney @RunningforCupcakes

    Hmmm I always imagine what it will be like while I’m running my marathon during my training runs. I also think about what I’m going to eat afterwards haha Other than that it’s always a bunch of random stuff that takes over my mind!
    Courtney @RunningforCupcakes recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Back to SchoolMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Me too!! I love picturing what it will be like to text Adam and tell him I am only a mile away from the finish! haha.

  12. Lou @ Running Through China

    You know, some say that 9 is the number that is kind of like the key / meaning to life, that’s its all about 9… So maybe that’s why it pops into your head, like you have truly found enlightenment while running, just like those running monks! Awesome 🙂

    I think about: the finish line (if I’m training for a race), how beautiful nature is, what I’m going to do when I get back from the run (i.e. dishes/laundry/make breakfast – exciting hey!), sometimes I would plan chapters for my book I finished writing earlier this year, and I think about how good it feels to move my body and to run, oh and I think about my friends and family too.


    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Really? I had no idea that the number 9 had such an interesting connection! I need to research that!

      I think about how beautiful nature is too. Sometimes I feel so ridiculous because I’ll be listening to the waves crash next to me and I’ll get all emotional over how amazing they are. I blame it on the endorphins, haha!

  13. Amy

    I always think about running when I am running long. When I am running a shorter distance in the afternoon, I am usually either processing my day OR trying to forget about my day. It is fun to have fake conversations with an idol, isn’t it?
    Amy recently posted…Telluride and Ouray TripMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Fake conversations are actually my favorite way to pass the time on long runs! haha

  14. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    I don’t think about anything…hmm. Maybe I should create a list to think about in my next long run to get me through it! Lol!
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…“Nobody needs me until I have something that I need to complete, and
    then everyone under the sun needs my attention. (grumble, grumble)”
    My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      On my shorter runs I don’t think I really think about anything either!

  15. Brooke @ wreckingroutine

    I think a lot about running while running. Also life, lesson plans, students, my to do list. Anything goes really! It’s a nice time to be disconnected and just let your mind wander.
    Brooke @ wreckingroutine recently posted…15 No-Equipment WorkoutsMy Profile

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