You can keep running when you are exhausted. It's just a matter of knowing what to do and when. If you are exhausted when running, it is mostly a matter of psychological exhaustion, not physical exhaustion. The mind is the problem in this case, because your body will still be ready to continue running. To battle back from this mindset, you simply have to use positive reinforcement and tell yourself to keep running. A strategy that you can use involves ignoring the exhaustion and using mind over matter. Another strategy involves you actually just focusing on your breathing, which calms you down and helps you to concentrate and persevere.
1. Realize It's Mental Rather than Physical
Many people think that running exhaustion occurs when the body is physically tired. However, this is discredited when you analyze this assumption deeper. A lack of oxygen is not likely behind runner's exhaustion, because that would mean that the heart muscle would also be starved of oxygen. If this were true, runners would experience heart pain when exhausted, but they don't. A better way of explaining running exhaustion is the Central Governor Model. This theory proposes that the brain distributes energy to the muscles to preserve homoeostasis. Since running places strong demand on the body, the feeling of exhaustion that hits runners may be the body's way of trying to preserve the homoeostasis. The brain does this by subconsciously lowering the vigor of muscle fiber to make a runner slow down.
2. Reward Yourself to Keep Running
Since running exhaustion is more mental than anything else, you can employ mental tricks to keep running. The psychological tool of the self-reward can be a very potent way to keep running, even when exhaustion hits. This practice is actually very popular among runners, because they know of the power of the promise of a reward. Motivate yourself by guaranteeing yourself a reward upon the total completion of your run. Small items like a new sports watch or running T-shirt are effective. Larger objects such as a hearty meal at a nice restaurant after your run or even a vacation somewhere sunny can also be powerful motivators. With these rewards in your head, you can psychologically motivate yourself to overcome the feeling of exhaustion from running.
3. Become Creative with Your Running
To fight the psychological imposition of running exhaustion, try to be creative. This simply involves changing your running routine so that your mind is engaged by the variety and newness. This will help to stave off exhaustion or at least see to it that you can overcome it and keep running. Discover some running routes that you have never used before. Try a climb up a hill if you have always run on flat ground, or change the velocity of your running speed. Variously increase or decrease your speed as you see fit.