The Runners Lounge Take it and Run series asks a very important question this week. “How do you overcome the tough stuff?”
This question seems directly targeted at me. Are you struggling to overcome tough stuff, Heather? Yes, yes I am! Are you looking for compassion and advice on how to cope and deal with the tough stuff? You bet. Bring on the compassion. Lather on the advice. I am ready to overcome.
Running is an important part of who I am and a large part of what defines me. But that running part doesn’t live in a vacuum. Work, relationships, finances… you know, real life things, all affect the running part of me. Currently, personal tough stuff is wrecking havoc on me and my running self. My brother and I have nicknamed this mix of physical and mental not wellbeing Le Grand Suck . It seems as though a heavy heart makes for heavy legs. Running stressed. Running upset. Running confused, just like being stressed, upset and confused can be incredibly tough.
Here are a few ideas I have about overcoming the tough stuff in running. And who knows, maybe I can use these ideas to overcome the other, more personal tough stuff?
1. The Tough Stuff Changes – Doesn’t it seem like something can seem easy one day and impossible the next? Sometimes I breeze through 20-miles and sometimes I feel like it’s a battle to even look at my running shoes, not to mention trying to get through 3-mile jog. I get frustrated when something that seems easy and should be easy doesn’t feel easy at all. Instead I should accept each run as it is. No judgments.
2. Stop the Bad Thoughts – Negative thoughts are soooo destructive. It’s bad. I struggle with this one a lot. I can psych myself out easily with a destructive train of thought, “I’m not fast. I’m fat. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be doing this. Why am I even doing this. . .” ugh! It’s so hard to stop thinking things like that once I start. Concentrating on just the act of running helps. Speaking of which…
3. Be Present – Sometimes I get so scared and nervous about a particular workout or race. Way more scared than I should be. What am I so afraid of? Of being tired? Of not being fast enough? Of not beating someone else? Remembering that the physical act of running is amazing and thinking about all the muscles it takes to make it happen help me focus on what’s important. Worrying about not being fast “enough” is certainly NOT what it’s about.
4. Talk to Thy Self: I am sure I am not the only runner who talks to herself, uses mantras and gives herself a pep talk to break the serious silence during a long run. I often echo my Mom’s favorite cheer “Chugga Chuggga! Woooo Wooooo!” The wild yells of The Greatest Cheerleader on Earth help me smile – even my feeble imitation does wonders.
5. Find Inspiration. I have several wonderful blogger friends (Sandy, The Lam) and runner friends who continually amaze me. If I don’t feel like running or if I’m having a bad day, I just think, “well, what would [insert name] do.