using your head

If you think that you can’t do something, you’re probably right. Your mind is perhaps one of the most important and powerful tools you have at your disposal. Once you’ve got the physical part down, running is nothing more than a mind game. Your mind can make or break you. The world’s best runner can have the worst race on any given day if they don’t have it together mentally.

From College to Career

When I was in college, we sometimes had to get out of bed at 5am to go for our runs and/or workout because of other things that were going on with scheduling conflicts, etc. Now that I’m out of college and working, it’s not that different. I sometimes have to get up early in the morning to do a quick 30-40 minute run-otherwise, I know that I won’t want to do it later. Additionally, now that the days are shorter, if I wait until just after 5pm to run, it’s already dark out.

Finding the Motivation

I am not sure why, but there is something that sucks about waking up at 7am and leaving a warm bed to face bitingly cold air. However, that’s the most difficult part. Typically, if I can make it past my front door, I’m doing well. There is nothing that compares to the satisfaction and feeling of euphoria I get after finishing a difficult run in crappy weather. After having traversed miles of trails or fighting an uphill battle on the roadways with pedestrians and traffic, running makes me feel better (usually).

I’d like to think that being a distance runner has taught me a lot about myself-mostly about what personal limitations I’ve chosen to set as well as the ones I’ve decided to go after and break. In my opinion, distance runners (people who have trained and raced the mile, 3,000m, 5k and beyond) are the real runners. They have more time to think about why they choose to run upwards of 5 or 6 miles each day. They have to maintain their focus for a much lengthier period of time during races, ignoring pain and fatigue; counting laps and trying to remain upbeat all the while.

The True Test is Now

It’s interesting to look back at my relationship with running over the years. In high school running was nothing but great fun and I loved the competition involved. In college, it was more of a profession-something I was forced to do each day, and now…Now, there’s no one holding my hand or telling me that I need to get up and workout at 6 or 7am…

In the stillness of the morning just before most people are getting ready for work, or in the middle of the day when I’ve managed to find solace on a well-beaten path somewhere at the park, it’s just me out there-alone in my thoughts but always telling myself to move.

You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

-Steve Prefontaine

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