I often find the hardest part of a run is simply putting my shoes on and getting out the door. Last night I felt motivated and excited to get up early and go for a long run on my day off of work. I ate pasta for dinner, got a decent amount of sleep, and scarfed down half a Clif bar before I hit the trails. Over the past few years I’ve figure out a routine that works for me and is often a fool proof way to ensure I have an epic run. However, I was a mile into my run when my motivation came to a startling halt. I wasn’t breathing hard, I wasn’t in pain, but I just felt weak and suddenly unmotivated. My mind kept thinking “when is this going to be done? It’s cold and I don’t want to do a long run. Why did you make a blog about running if you have runs this bad?”. As these thoughts crept into my mind I remembered something I used to tell myself when I’m in a race; running is a mental sport. Sometimes your legs start burning and it gets hard to breath. But it isn’t the pain that makes you stop; it is how you choose to react.
Instead of turning around right then I told myself to keep pushing, walk when I needed and to not beat myself up over having an ‘off’ day. Forty five minutes later and I was running on my favorite trail, each mile faster than the last. I eventually got into my rhythm and felt AMAZING for the last half of my run.
I may love to run, hike, ski, and bike but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have off days too. Veggie Trails is about inspiring others which for me also means recognizing that not every run or adventure goes as planned. Instead of beating yourself up over an ‘off’ workout or a missed one, I encourage you to practice self-love. You can’t always choose your circumstances but you can choose how you react to them. When the going gets tough stop filling your mind with doubt and start reminding yourself how incredibly strong you truly are. While building up your endurance is a huge aspect of running, I believe that your mentality is just as important.
Before I ran a 50 miler the longest distance I had completed was 31 miles. While 31 miles is no short run it is still 19 miles shorter than what I was setting out to do. My endurance at the time was the best it has ever been but I still feared what would happen once I entered the uncharted territory of those final 19 miles. In the end it wasn’t my endurance that helped me finish the race; it was my mindset. When my legs began to feel dead and each step was a struggle I didn’t let the self-doubt creep in. Instead I thought about the months of training and hundreds of miles I had completed to prepare for that moment. Mentally I reminded myself how strong I was and let my determination carry me all the way to the finish.
Whether you’re running 50 miles or 3 miles your mentality is going to play a major roll. Come up with a mantra that will help remind you of your inner strength when you feel like giving up. Your legs are going to want to give up long before your mind will. Stay strong and run happy. Just remember, if running is a mental sport then we’re all a little insane.