You have put in the training. Woke up at 6am. Ran in the brutal heat. The pouring rain. Up hill both ways. You are fit and ready to roll!! Nothing can stop you now!! Except……You?
Self belief is one of the most important aspects to successful training. You have to believe in yourself! So many times we are our own harshest critics. From missing a split on a workout to missing an easy run, we usually beat ourselves up more than anyone else. We have the most invested in the game and sometimes we don’t match up to our expectations which can cause us to be even more critical of ourselves and have a negative outlook.
So what can you do?
When training for a race with big goals it is common to hit a rough patch in training at SOME POINT! Anything can set the dominos in motion into this negative/self criticizing loop. Even if you are training great- we can sometimes blow up the littlest thing. Human nature is to focus on the negative and dismiss the positive. Face it we are not the most happy go lucky species. Dogs they are the ones you should emulate! Dogs love a run.
So lets look at the positives:
1) Everyone has bad days. Don’t let it get you down. Lots of things can contribute to a bad day. Life stress, diet, hydration, weather, …. the list continues. Do not let one bad day or bad week send you down a spiral. One day or one week does not define you or your training.
2) New stress during a time of training can cause a chain reaction. As you increase mileage it will take awhile for you body to adjust. This is natural. You may feel sluggish for a short amount of time. Your body will rebound. If it lingers for longer than a few weeks you may need an adjustment.
3) Life happens. You might have to miss a run here or there. As long as it isn’t a habit, don’t sweat it. You have to remember that you have a job and responsibilities first. You are a person that has a life and happen to be a runner. Not the other way around.
4) Running is fun!! It should be. No one started running to make money or to impress their office with PRs. You start running for fun! Or to accomplish something amazing! Or because you are crazy! But either way it should always be fun. It isn’t your job. Life will stress you out enough. Make sure to keep in mind that running should be stress relief not pile more weight on you.
So what can you do once you have already fallen into the negative spiral?…..
How do you get back on track?
1) Have fun!! It is fun!! Try not to take yourself so seriously. It is just running. It is a recreational hobby. You already have a lot of stress in your work/life. Try to use running as a time to blow off that extra stress! Enjoy the pushing of your body. Focus on effort instead of paces. Focus on clearing your mind instead of your goal race.
2) Take care of your body! Get some rest. If you are struggling you may not be getting enough sleep for your body to recharge. Diet is important too. Make sure you are not just eating but fueling your body for performance.
3) Take a step back. Look at the work you have done with your running so far. Have you put in a good effort? Gotten out to run recently? Are your goals realistic in relation to the work you have put in? Many times we get to focused on the goals and lose sight of the process. The best part of the trip is the journey. Enjoy the runs. Each run has a purpose and they should all be enjoyable. Even that super long run at 6am.
4) Find success everyday. In everything you do you can find success. The easy run you can push yourself to go the full distance. In your workout you can make your last rep the best. In a long run you can finish strong or push yourself to run the entire time with no stopping breaks. On your rest day you can roll and stretch for 10 minutes. You have the chance for success everyday.
If you are in a running funk or even a life funk you can get out! Don’t lose hope. Remain positive and find success.
“Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!” -Someone Wise