Mar 06

Is There Crying In Running?

This thought came to me in the middle of a hard treadmill effort this week, because I seriously wanted to cry.  That great scene in A League of Their Own flashed into my head and I thought, well there may be no crying in baseball but there’s a ton in running!


Runners can be very emotional. All those endorphins pumping thorough your veins cause very high highs and extremely low lows. I was given the great advice of “it’s never as bad as it seems and never as good either” as I embarked on my first marathon. It’s was ridiculously true.

So why did I want to cry on the treadmill this past Wednesday? I have a list:

I returned from the warmth of Vegas to more snow, sleet, freezing rain and freezing temps

I did my 14-mile long run on Monday in the snow and wind (the kind of wind I yell at)

Tuesday I did a strength training workout followed by teaching a killer (if I do say so myself) hour spin class

Which brings us to Wednesday where I had a 2800 yard (1.5 mile) swim and 8×800 run scheduled. Both of my kids woke-up at 4am and one didn’t go back to sleep. I also had to shovel wet, heavy snow from the foot of my driveway before going to the gym. My workout seemed daunting, to say the least.


I’m not telling you all of this to say “look at how much I did” or claim I have it harder then some, because the opposite is probably true. I simply want to set the stage for my near breakdown on the treadmill.

After a great swim, I stared down the old mill, stinking of chlorine. I was already feeling defeated. Not a good start to speed work. I told myself to just start running and see how I feel.

The first mile sucked.

The second was better.

Warm-up over and I pushed up the speed to a 6:30 pace to start my first 800.

Not horrible.

Slowed it down for a quarter mile (400) and launched into round two.

This is when I wanted to cry.

I started to question all of my training, my age, my fitness level, my sanity – all of it. I started to go down that rabbit hole of hurt and pain and not good enough. It was dark and scary and I wanted to cry.

But I kept going.

I thought of Tom Hanks delivering that message – “there’s no crying in baseball!” –  a look of disgust on his face. I thought about all the times I’ve seen runners crying tears of joy or in the agony of defeat. I thought about all the crying in running, and I pushed on.


Now, it’s important to note that I was fatigued (mostly mentally) and my body ached but the only thing in jeopardy of being injured was my ego. There’s a fine line between pushing it and being a moron.

As I started round four, I decided I would hold on for six instead of eight and that would be good enough.

I decided I was good enough and that when I felt fatigued in mile 22 of the marathon I would think back to this treadmill run and know that I can push though it. There’s a lesson in every training session after all, and this was it.

I’m always telling clients and classes that they can do more then they think. I did a hell of a lot more then I thought I could on the treadmill that day and you can too.


I have to take pictures of my TM workouts because I can never remember my time. #GettingOld

I have to take pictures of my TM workouts because I can never remember my time. #GettingOld

I know some may think that running and racing is easy for me, and this should prove that it’s not. Everyone who races (no matter the race) struggles. Everyone who has ever gone for a run knows what it’s like to suffer.

Running not only trains your body to be better, faster and stronger but it trains your mind too. Once I changed my mindset about that run, I knew I was going to make it to the finish.

I was in control all along, I just had to believe it.

The next time you’re working out and suffering and want to cry, tell yourself this – you can cry your eyes out, but you need to finish first! And then kill it.


What makes you want to cry these days?

How do you overcome tough workouts or tough life lessons?

What’s a movie or song quote that keeps you going?




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  1. I love that quote from A League of Their Own! I used to say that over and over to myself when I worked at a law firm and things were just crazy difficult and people were horrible. It actually really worked!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Friday’s Food & Fitness: The Strangest Gym EquipmentMy Profile

    1. OMG aren’t you so glad you don’t have to deal with that anymore?

    • Marisa on March 6, 2015 at 6:16 AM
    • Reply

    Amen..Runners Anthem

    1. You know it sister.

  2. You WANTED to cry, I DID cry! Like balling…..yep. right in the middle of my treadmill workout yesterday (I also screamed the f word and told steve to leave me alone)……..think I am emotional!? Hahahah I am a train wreck apparently… yes, runners do cry……in my case a LOT! Especially when I invest so much time, energy, and heart into something, and feel like I am getting nowhere. Thanks for making me feel better.
    Tina muir recently posted…Fuel Your Recovery- Massage and CompressionMy Profile

    1. Oh Tina!!! I so, so get it. All the work and sacrifice and dedication – you do ALL of this day in and day out and, when you don’t see the results you want (or are just having a bad day) you can snap. I totally get it. Sending you a huge hug and hope today is a better day!!!

  3. I think there is room for crying in a lot of things. It shows you care and have emotion towards the subject. If you didn’t cry, I would be worried. I do think there is a time and place for it though. Interesting post that really makes you think!
    Hollie recently posted…Phoenix Full Marathon (3:14.59)My Profile

    1. So true. It’s the passion that just bubbles over when the rest of life is a little too much!! I would prefer the tears of joy I had in Spain this past summer 🙂

  4. I think this is a totally normal reaction–sometimes we just feel overwhelmed and it comes crashing down. I love that you fought back and that you are already tucking this one away for the future–way to turn it around!
    misszippy recently posted…International Women’s DayMy Profile

    1. Gotta do it. I know you get it! Thanks Amanda.

  5. Um yes. But really you have had so much going on and I would be crying for the sheer fact that you left amazing weather to come home to ….this. You did great by pushing through and making it happen, proud of you!! My personal mantra is “show up” sometimes and every daily I simply don’t want to go to the gym. All the excuses al the external issues but I know that if I just show up I will try my best. You WILL remember this moment during your marathon and be happy you made it through!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K Race RecapMy Profile

    1. Oh I love that and will totally steal it!! Yes, sometimes all you need to do is SHOW UP because that is the hardest part. Awesome!

  6. The quote A league of Their Own is my daughter’s favorite quote and something she used to think of during hard swimming workouts! I have only cried once while running and it was during the last 1/4 mile of the Quintiles Marathon last March when I knew I had qualified for Boston. I guess my workouts are not hard enough to make me cry!
    Pam and Christine recently posted…Five favorite race day memoriesMy Profile

    1. There are so many good ones from that movie. I also love “If it were easy, everybody would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great!”
      I love that you cried tears of joy for a BQ!! I did the same 🙂
      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  7. I’ve wanted to cry during leg day. I think it’s a sign of strength – that you’re able to push yourself beyond limits!

    Also, I LOVE that movie.
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Strange But Good on Route 66My Profile

    1. I agree! It’s the passion for what you’re doing that can be overwhelming. And that movie is one I just HAVE to watch if it’s on TV.

  8. That is one of my all-time favorite movie lines (mostly because it is one of the very few that I always remember!).
    I love that you listened to your body and pushed but not to the point of risking injury!!!
    I cried a lot last week during my 31 mile run but it was mostly just because of stuff that had happened the day before with one of my boys that I was still trying to process and adjust to – the long hard run was the perfect time to let the tears out:)
    Kim recently posted…One Size Does NOT Fit All!!My Profile

    1. It always helps when I can process things on a long run. I’m so sorry that happened to you but at least you had the run to work though it. Things like that are always going to happen (right?) so I guess we’re lucky we CAN run long and work it all out. xoxoxo

  9. I have never cried while running – proof that I rarely run, because I cry plenty. I’m glad you didn’t cry so much that you fell off the treadmill. I would have totally done that.
    Dana recently posted…My Love List for MarchMy Profile

    1. The worst part of fighting tears while running is that you lose your breath. You either have to stop running or stop crying but you can’t do both!!

    • Laurie Wisotsky on March 6, 2015 at 9:04 PM
    • Reply

    Thank you for your honesty. I find myself in that rabbit
    Hole more times than I care to admit questioning my
    fitness, why I’m doing all this crazy running at my age,
    Should I be there more for my kids instead of training etc etc
    And the tears often follow. Thank you for reminding
    Me I’m not alone on this crazy running journey!

    1. You’re welcome and you are certainly not alone!! Thank you for reading and commenting. We’re all in this together 🙂

  10. I think we all feel like this at one point or another. This is exactly how I felt a few weeks back doing my 16 mile run…I wanted to give up running all together. It’s crazy how our mind can play tricks on us and it changes day to day! I love your honesty and it’s nice to know you struggle just like the rest of us 😉

    1. It’s so crazy how we can sign up for marathons and then, halfway though training, want to give up running all together!! I so hear you on that one. Keep your head up – Paris is almost here!!!!!

  11. When I’m struggling through a workout, I try to repeat a positive mantra that keeps me going… something like, “You can” or “You’re strong” seems to help motivate me to get through it.

    PS – I want to cry pretty much every time I run, which is why I don’t run often! Ha. Running & me are not good friends!
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness recently posted…Wine Tasting in the Santa Ynez ValleyMy Profile

    1. Hahahaha!! You are not alone with those feelings, I assure you. Mantras absolutely help and I was really trying to summon mine. I guess a new one for me will be “there’s no crying until you’re done running!” Thanks Nicole.

  12. Sometimes that overwhelming feeling is hard to overcome. It’s not usually my workouts for me, but I cry plenty…when the stress gets to me, I do usually feel better after a good cry and a short pity party. And that movie is one of my all time favorites! I’m a sports movie junkie.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Lemon Blueberry BarsMy Profile

    1. It’s such a great movie on so many levels! I hear you about the good cry making you feel better too. It really does work and then you can move on!! I hope there’s a lot less in your future now that we’re entering spring…I hope!

  13. Aw!! I’m so sorry. I have those dark hole feelings about other things – not exercise, though.
    I love the line from Finding Nemo – “Just keep swimming.”
    Tamara recently posted…Let’s Go Shooting Together.My Profile

    1. YES! That line definitely works too!!

  14. Going into work at 6:15 after my run/ride/swim and being there for 9 hours and driving another hour home and not getting in another workout…my 39th year of teaching. That’s what makes me cry…

    1. Just reading that makes me want to cry. Keep fighting!!

  15. Ah, you’re awesome, as always.
    Alison recently posted…What’s My Life’s Theme Song? (Not Really About Songs)My Profile

  1. […] him to go to sleep at night makes me well up with how much I love him. I read a post by Allie about crying in running that had me in tears. I’m a mess, […]

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