I need to get out of my own damn head. Lately, I’ve been hearing this advice from my running group time and time again and while I understand the truth of it, and desire to follow it, I am still stuck in my head. What the heck am I talking about? Running is mental sport far more, in my opinion, than a physical sport. Sure, you need to physically be able to run and breathe for your distances, but once you master the physicality, it is all mental. Will the kick-ass mother f-ing runner show up or will the whinny bitch runner show up at the race/training run? Same person, different attitude; attitude makes a huge difference on your pace / speed / endurance / time.
I have a ton of excuses for why I’ve been struggling, but they are just that, plain old excuses. I was sick, it’s really hot, it’s more humid than I am accustomed, and I’ve been running too many days this week. Excuses! The last one is the worst excuse because it’s a forced reality from being stuck in my head. Again, what the heck am I taking about? Right now I’m not enjoying my runs, I’m forcing myself out there to get miles but because I’m not losing myself in the moment (sorry Eminem) I spend my runs thinking about my pace, or how hot I am, or how sweaty I am, or anything, but enjoying my run. I’m also forcing myself out there more times a week than I should because my miles each run are down. The reality is, I run far more miles per week if I run three good runs than if I run five consecutive days of shorter runs. Logically I know the problem; yet the struggle is still very real.
Not every runner has monthly mileage goals, but we all can struggle with getting out there and running. Sometimes the frustration and/or the induced stresses of life can overwhelm the enjoyment of the run. Too often it becomes too easy to stop and that much harder to get going again. Every runner struggles from time to time from the newbie to the elite, the 1-miler to the ultra-runner. It is important to remember that life is not just successes. We all have set backs.
In February 2014, I was struggling with running in the cold and I wrote, I Still Can. I went back and reread that post again and again, re-internalizing the message to chase away my mental struggles.
My mantra for today’s run and every forthcoming run I struggle with: I am so glad I can run – I really really, really like running (channeling Carly Rae). I run for my health. I run for the future. I run for the now. I run because I can. I am so glad I can run.
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