I know who you are. You are the type of runner who wants to be better, stronger, more motivated. Yet, you’re stuck. Maybe all you need is a gentle reminder of what not to do if you want to be successful:
1. Compare yourself to others
We’ve all had the experience of completing a kick-ass run, then going onto Facebook or reading someone’s blog and immediately feeling like crap. Why does this depression happen when, just moments before, we felt victorious? This phenomenon occurs because we have compared ourselves to some other runner who maybe ran farther or faster than us. With running, as with most things in life, you’ll be much happier if you relish in your accomplishments and stop trying to be or beat somebody else.
2. Skip rest days
Taking rest is just as instrumental in making you a strong runner as those days you do intervals or cover long distances. Without rest, our bodies simply can’t repair, rebuild and strengthen. If you feel guilty or weak for taking a recovery day, stop being so damn hard on yourself and look at the big picture.
3. Dwell on the bad runs
I can remember one run in particular that chewed me up and spat me out with such ferocity that I decided maybe running just wasn’t for me. I was too tired, too sore, too slow, too crampy, too hot, too discouraged. What I failed to realize then is that to have amazing running days, you have to suffer through the crappy ones. When this experience happens, get some perspective. Acknowledge that the run sucked and move on. One horrid run does not define you as a runner.
4. Get discouraged by discomfort
The bad asses in the military use the expression “Embrace the suck.” This mantra means that when you are suffering, you need to stop resisting and welcome it into every cell of your being. Many of us think that when running becomes tough (as it always does), we should stop, go home, eat a donut and watch football. Not true. In fact, the most successful runners have learned how to accept their discomfort and recognize it as part of the experience. Remember – what you resist persists.
5. Forget to be grateful
Too often, runners get caught up in the drama of judging themselves for how fast or how far they can run. There is constant talk about getting PRs (personal records), qualifying for Boston and hitting outrageous weekly mileage goals. We forget that the true beauty of running is the ability to do it at all, that our bodies are letting us engage in this wondrous process of rapidly placing on foot in front of the other. To be able to run is a gift and one that should not be taken for granted.
Any other traits you think successful runners have in common? Share them in the comments section below!
For more from Beth Risdon, visit Shut Up and Run!