Overcoming the Tough Stuff

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.


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in life, running, Take it and Run Thursday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Overcoming the Tough Stuff

  1. Nat says:

    I love this. (In fact, I do love this topic. So much help.) I like the Be Present. It’s so very true. There is no sense worrying about the run. It just is what it is.

  2. the mom says:

    PS. One i would like to add…you can do it.. you can do it… and when afraid or overwhelmed… most things are not rocket science… ( it may not be perfect) but by golly YOU CAN DO IT!!!!! (and the wonder of life is that in the process you discover many things about yourself… in the trying.. in the doing.) I applaud you Heather in all that you have done to challenge yourself…. just continue to put one foot forward.

  3. Bob Allen says:

    The Tough Stuff Changes

    Great thought and so true — it can be 4.5 miles (this morning) or 13.1 miles (Saturday); it can be too hot (anything over about 68° for me) or too cold (<20°); it can be loneliness or a crowd.

  4. Hey Heather, great article, and thanks for the shout-out. It’s funny because sometimes I use YOU to motivate me when I start to get negative thoughts on my long runs too!

    I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I’m tapering now for my marathon next weekend, but feeling somewhat anxious because my training has been off/on this summer because of the brutal heat and humidity.

    Anyway, great tips. And hang in there with your running and non-running related issues. Just remember that the goal is near and the pain, however extreme, is only temporary!

  5. Marvin says:

    I’m curious to why you have these bad thoughts when you consistently have breakthrough and podium races. Yes, stop the bad thoughts!

    I always enjoy training and look forward to it every day. Training complements my lifestyle and never dominates it. So, whenever encountering the tough stuff I always take a moment to analyze why it is so tough. Is it stress, am I burnt out, did I have a bad day at work, relationship issues, finance problems, or are the stars aligned? Whatever it is, it probably means that I shouldn’t workout that day. Be flexible, it’s ok to lighten your workout or skip the workout completely. Training should ALWAYS be fun and nothing you ever have to force through. Don’t we all run for fun? Take care of what is causing the “tough stuff” first, and then get back to your training.

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