How To Overcome The 4 Most Common Running Obstacles

Girl in sportswear does warm-up in the park on a cloudy day.

Every runner—beginner and elite alike—will face hurdles and obstacles on their to achieving their running goals. No one is immune.

When faced with an obstacle, you got two options: (1) to let it stop you in your tracks and force away from your goals, or (2) find a way to get past these roadblocks so you can achieve whatever you’re after.

Your decision determines the outcome.

In today’s article, I’ll delve into some of the most common obstacles runners face and share with you a few practical guidelines on how to overcome them for good.

Sounds good?

Let’s lace up and dig in.

I don’t have the time

Finding enough time to log the miles is a common challenge.

Time is a pretty rare commodity. Runners are people, and most people have full-time jobs, families, and other commitments.

Overcome it

Schedule your runs in the early morning as research has shown that those who exercise early on in the day achieve better consistency.

Just make sure to get high-quality sleep. Aim for 8 hours of an uninterrupted slump during the night’s time.

To ensure that, remove distractions from your bedroom, improve your sleep hygiene. Turn off the TV and the computer at least an hour before you go to bed and get blackout shades for your windows.

What’s more, get your running gear ready the night before. This may not seem as much, but it’ll surely help

Additionally, schedule your morning runs the same way you do social activities or work meetings, set two different alarms if possible. An hour before you go to bed and get blackout shades for your windows.

happy runner

No motivation

We all struggle with motivation. It’s a fleeting mistress that few have ever managed to keep in their grasp.

That’s why lack of it is a common obstacle keeping many runners away from their shoes.

Overcome it

Get your motivation on track by setting a public goal. Share your goals with your family, then ask them to help you stick with your training and hold you accountable for your progress.

I’d also recommend that you sign up for a race, so you got to commit on the calendar.

Pick an event that forces you outside of your comfort zone—like a half-marathon, a trail race, or an obstacle race. Setting a too-easy goal won’t provide you with enough oomph to propel you forward. And you don’t want that.

Side stitches

Few things are as painful as a side stitch while running. The piercing, stabbing pain that hits below the ribs can stop any runner in their tracks.

The exact causes of this running nightmare are still unclear, but most theories say that it’s likely caused by diaphragm spasms.

Beginner runners are also more prone to experience side stitches. Just because the exact cause is unknown doesn’t mean we can do something about it.

Overcome it

Pre-run meals may contribute to side stitches. When your body is still digesting food, there’s less blood flowing to the diaphragm, which can induce spasms in the diaphragm muscle.

Time your pre-run meals one to two hours prior to hitting the road. Avoid foods high on fiber and fat as they take longer to digest—causing stomach troubles, stitches, and other problems.

What’s more?

Start your run with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up. Jumping in with too much gusto may save you time on the clock but can cause hefty breathing, which may induce a painful side stitch.


Running injuries are, undoubtedly, a common hurdle all runners face sooner or later.

But getting hurt shouldn’t stop you from reaching your full potential.

I believe that preventing injuries comes down to having the right mindset and following sensible training guidelines. Let me unpack this.

Overcome it

If you’re a beginner, stick with the ten percent rule. Increase your running mileage by no more than ten percent from one week to the next, and always make sure to schedule a recovery week every three to four weeks of training.

Next, take up your running pace gradually. Pushing too hard out on your runs too frequently increases the risk of injuries such as sprains, shin splints, and stress fractures.

Instead, focus on good technique before obsessing over speed.

And most importantly, listen to your body. Most running injuries do not happen overnight. Every condition comes with a warning sign—chronic pain, ache, soreness, and so on.

You just need to keep a keen eye on them and stop whenever you feel that you are doing too much. It’s better to be safe than sorry. When in doubt, don’t run, cross-train or take the day off. Consult a physiotherapist or doctor for a more thorough treatment approach.