1. Be Present
What is this, some hokey yoga session? No, but yoga is a great way to compliment your runs. What we are talking about here is as simple as taking a second every once in awhile to see how you are really feeling during your run.
Here are some great questions you can ask yourself during your run:
- What do my legs feel like?
- Am I breathing heavily?
- Can I talk?
- How is my turnover?
- How is my posture?
- Am I thirsty?
The point is to be aware that how you are feeling probably isn’t as bad as you can make it seem sometimes.
I was running with a client the other day. We were near the end of a 6 mile jaunt and had about half a mile left. I was letting her dictate the pace and she picked it up significantly. You could literally see her body tense up and hear her breathing increase.
I told her to pretend she had 5 more miles to go, to relax and let everything set back to the rhythm she had only one minute earlier. Instantaneously the response was, “Oh that feels much better.” It’s not rocket science but if you learn to take inventory, it’s an easy fix for anyone.
So what was going on with her?
She was not being present. She was already finished in her mind so she tensed every muscle in her body to get done. Have you done this before?
2. Be Positive
Yes, we all have doubts when we are challenging ourselves , learning how to squash the doubt in real time is a skill that can help every runner.
Doubt and negativity show up for many reasons, in many forms. Here are a few:
- Did I eat/hydrate well enough?
- I’m not strong enough to keep this pace
- I’m just going to walk, not feeling “it” today
- This weather is impossible, I’m done
- I missed too many days in a row to do well now
- I’m so tired, should I even run today?
This is only touching the surface on how creative and incorrect our own negative assumptions about ourselves can be.
It all comes down to creating a habit. Once you know when and why you go negative, you can decide to be positive.
Make a list right now of the 5 most common negative thoughts and/or triggers so you are ready to change your reaction next time.
What does it mean to decide to be positive? Jeff Galloway in his Athlete On Fire episode told us that he would go back to a time that he succeeded and imagine exactly how it felt. He would pick a few trigger words that he could associate with this moment so when negativity crept in, he would have a mantra to draw from to bring his negative subconscious to a positive conscious. That’s it really, a decision to be positive when those sneaky negative thoughts creep in to your head.
Next time you are on a run practice turning those negative thoughts into positive ones. Go a distance or a pace that you know will challenge you and just wait for them. Have your mantra ready and notice the difference. Addressing the negativity instead of ignoring it and hoping it will go away will always be the better option.
3. Bring Perspective
Somewhere, someone would absolutely love to be in your running shoes, run for them. If you can bring perspective to every run, every workout, you will never have a bad day. It’s not always that easy so maybe this post will help you gain perspective;)
There are so many ways to gain perspective, here are a few:
- Travel-never take where you live for granted
- Volunteer-the power of giving back time makes the time you use for running more valuable
- Read- Learning opens the mind, open minds can relate to more circumstances positively.
- Go harder- how will you know what is easy if you have never been to your physical brink?
- Pray/meditate- When you focus thoughts you can imagine the possibility that your run is NOT difficult in the grand scheme
- Reach out- Other people’s stories will inspire. Meet and run with people that inspire or simply won’t let you throw pity parties on a run. Basically, suck it up!
We are only the sum of our experiences and if we can’t comprehend something, it is probably because we haven’t experienced it. Go gain perspective to make running less intimidating or difficult.
What perspective do you draw from when you run?
We would love to share with others so it may help them as well!
Of course there are more than 3 mental techniques to make your runs more enjoyable but starting with three that you can implement tomorrow is powerful.
Get out there and be positive, be present, and bring perspective. Remember, you are an athlete if you would just apply yourself!
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