You’re out for a run and then you hear it – that voice.
You turn up your music, but it’s still there.
The voice that tells you that you can’t run one more step, that you’ll never shave time off your mile, that there is no way you’ll be able to run 13.1 miles, that you’ll never be faster than you were last year or than the 80-year-old that just passed you.
Yup, that voice.
If it sounds familiar that’s because it is…it’s the worst part of you, your ego, your fear. The one that let’s you get caught up in comparisons on Instagram and judges every run by the splits on your watch. That voice is so extremely powerful, that we have to consciously CHOOSE to work against it.
And why wouldn’t we? Kicking that bad boy to the curb is going to improve your running 10x over!
Our ego is the part of us that often speaks first and loudest, which is too bad because it’s kind of confused.
One minute it’s worried about the future (what if I fail) and the next it’s throwing the past in our face (look how poorly that went last time!). It thrives in fear and chaos.
The excellent news is that if you’ve spent any time dealing with this little monster on your runs, I can tell you it’s possible to overcome by building mental toughness.
The result is that we’re often able to accomplish more than we dreamed because we stop holding ourselves back on race day, we start relaxing in training which leads to better workouts and GASP we have fun which means we keep showing up!
Running is a Mental Sport
Our goal is to overcome those negative thoughts while running, which help us to break through the mental blocks holding us back.
You’re a runner, so you know there is no magic wand, there is simply work. Showing up day after day to train our body and our mind to do as we wish…go farther, go faster, go injury free.
Here’s a three step process you can use to begin turning the tide on your ego based voice.
1. Acknowledge the Fear
The first (and most important) step to squashing your fear is to simply acknowledge it. Sorry, ignore and run on is not the advice you’ll find here.
The next time you find yourself thinking or saying things like “I’m not, I can’t, It won’t, It’s not worth it, I don’t know” be willing to examine the fear behind your thought instead of accepting it as your reality. Ugh that sounds so boring, let’s try this again.
On the next run when you find yourself slumping over, dragging each foot forward like a million pound weight, grab that moment to say “what am I thinking?”
– This sucks. I suck. I can’t do this. I’ll never be able to run a marathon. I’m a horrible runner.
Now pull your shoulders back, lift your head up and simply say “Ok ego, ok body, ok fear, I hear what you’re saying.”
Legit! Actually naming and listing your fears, immediately takes away the power and allows you to either deal with the thoughts (umm it’s mile 13 and you haven’t had any water, which makes you cranky) or recognize how ridiculous they might be.
2. Examine the Thought
Now that we’ve named it, we’ve allowed it to come out in to the light…let’s really examine that fear.
Maybe someone on the playground in first grade told you that you had a weird awkward stride as you ran from first base to second (you know just a random example of the top of my head, not like it happened to me) or you set out for a long run and had to cut it short because you just couldn’t find the energy.
These moments become deeply ingrained in our subconscious as lessons about who we are, which in this case is not a very good runner.
Now that we’ve let our nasty little voice out of it’s box: This sucks. I suck. I can’t do this. I’ll never be able to run a marathon. I’m a horrible runner. – it’s time to blast it.Tired of the negative chatter while you run? How to turn around your self-talk for better training! #runchat #mindset Click To Tweet
I mean are you really the “worst runner ever”?
Really? You have to admit it’s pretty unlikely that in the entirety of the WHOLE world you’re literally the wosrt, which means the story you’ve been telling yourself is a lie.
What, the what?! You’ve been lying to yourself! What else might that little mean subconscious voice be lying about…how far you can run, how fast you can run, how much fun you can actually have while doing it??
It’s time to implement the genius of Byron Katie’s 4 questions:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe the thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Listen you’ve got plenty of time while running to puzzle through all of this and it’s a distraction to what you’re doing, so don’t put it off…just do it!
3. Flip Your Funky Thoughts
Fabulous, now that you’ve realized your ego based fear is a big steamy pile of poop emoji’s, let’s turn it in to something more useful.
I mean what would your run be like if you started saying this like: I really love running. It always feels so good to move my body. The sun on my face is really invigorating.
I dunno, better?!
As Wayne Dyer says, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” Turn your fears into mantras and post them in places where you’re going to see them throughout the day. Holy heck, we’re taking that initial nasty voice from your run and turning it in to mantra’s that will help you achieve those big goals!
Fear: I’m not in good enough shape to be a runner. I’ll hurt myself and not even finish.
Flip it: My body is strong and will get stronger every time I lace up my sneakers.
Fear: I’m too slow to ever be a real runner.
Flip it: I am a runner because I choose to run.
Allowing your fear to be your reality is like running while carrying a sandbag. It’s draining and slows you down. These three steps will bust through your fears and free you from comparison, self-doubt, and limiting beliefs.
There is nothing more powerful than publicly outing your fear! So let’s hear it:
What does your negative voice say on runs?
How do you shut it down?
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