We’ve all been there. You head out the door with the best of intentions, but your run just feels terrible right from the beginning.
Your breathing is off, there’s a weird pain in your foot, your bra strap is chafing you, you’re like a minute per mile slower than usual despite working really hard, and your inner mean girl is screaming in your ear about all of it.
Thoughts vs. Circumstances
I had one of those the other day. And I used to tell my clients when it happened to them:
“Hey. Some runs are awesome and some runs just suck. It’s part of the deal. Congratulations, this makes you a real runner.”
But while I was running last week, I started thinking about what makes a run terrible, and the effect our thinking has on our performance.
And it hit me…a terrible run isn’t a circumstance.
>IT’S A THOUGHT.
Are you saying a terrible run isn’t a fact? That it’s all in my head?
The facts look like this:
- You ran from point A to point B, and it took you X minutes to do it.
- You had sensations in your body.
- You had thoughts in your brain.
- There was weather.
EVERYTHING ELSE is your thinking.
Your opinion about that collection of facts might be that it was a terrible run, an awesome run, or somewhere in between.
It’s still just an opinion.
And here’s where it gets juicy:
Opinions can be changed.
Thoughts have consequences
When you have the thought “That was a terrible run” you most likely feel frustrated, discouraged, or disappointed, right?
And when you feel that way, how do you show up for yourself?
Do you take really good care of your body, maybe eating an extra nutritious lunch or going to bed early? Or do you complain about it to your friends, feel pissed off and sorry for yourself, and maybe have an extra glass of wine with dinner to make yourself feel better?
My guess is that it’s the latter. Because when we feel frustrated, discouraged, or disappointed, we don’t double down on self-care. We want to avoid those feelings. Wine is really great at that (in the short term, at least). So is online shopping.
Thinking you had a terrible run leads you to feel terrible, and then you don’t behave the way you want to.
In my opinion, even if we could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your run sucked, thinking about it that way doesn’t really help you too much—because it doesn’t drive you to be the best version of yourself.
So what are you supposed to do instead?
Stop judging your runs at all, my friend.
The problem is not that you were tired while running, or that your breathing was uneven, or that your legs hurt.
The problem is that you are getting all Judgy McWhiny about it.
Yeah, you heard me.
Change your thinking
We (yes, I am guilty of this as well) believe we are entitled to have every run feel amazing.
And we are. But not in the way you think.
Every run has the potential to be amazing, even if your legs were tired, or your inner mean girl wouldn’t shut up.
Because an amazing run is ALSO just a thought.
What if you just decided that your run was amazing simply because you ran? Because you showed the fuck up for yourself. Because you did something that most people think you shouldn’t be doing. Because you did it even though it was hard.
Thinking you had a terrible run is not serving you. An amazing run is literally just a thought away.
Do the fucking work on your thoughts, my friends. Stop letting your habitual thinking run the show. You’re in charge here, so act like it!
PS – Need help working on your thoughts? Unsure where to start? Run Your Best Life is the answer. Stop letting your Inner Mean Girl run the show. Join us today at www.runyourbestlife.com and learn how to make every run awesome!
PPS – This was the pep talk I gave myself during a run last week that didn’t feel the way I thought it should have. You’re welcome.