Today I laced up my shoes, put my dog in the car and headed up to my favorite mountain trail. As I started to run I could tell that my body was not having it today. What usually feels like a moderate to easy run felt like a marathon. I was breathing much harder than normal and I felt like I had cement in my shoes. That’s when I thought, ‘sometimes running just stinks.’
It reminded me of a run in college. Our team had just finished racing in Pullman, Washington when my coach said, “okay, now run 10 miles back to our hotel.” The whole team was a bit edgy at our coach’s request, but I’m not sure we knew how to disagree with him. About 6 miles into the run my teammate and friend sat down on the trail. We all stopped and looked at her. In desperation she exclaimed, “I’m not going any further! If coach really cares he’ll know that this is crazy and that he needs to pick me up!” I could not help but smile at her. Here was one of the country’s top ranking athletes pouting on the side of the road. I walked back to her, squatted down and said, “Okay, you stay here, we are going to keep running. Let us know if anyone comes to pick you up.” I then reached out my hand, helped her up and we laughed the rest of the way home at her ‘human’ moment.
Not what you expected to hear from a motivational running blog right? Running gives you the opportunity to feel amazing highs and joint crushing lows. For every mile that feels great, you’ve likely run double that many while feeling terrible. So as I ran down my trail today and fought the temptation to walk, I thought of 5 reasons to keep on going.
1) Tomorrow will be better. No matter how bad your run was today, it always gets better if you maintain consistency.
2) If you didn’t know what a bad day felt like, how could you love the good?
3) Control your breathing. On days that are tough my breathing always becomes elevated. On really bad days I start hyperventilating. This is a good time to use your mantra as discussed in our previous post here. I always count while breathing in 1-2 then out 3-4.
4) No matter what, you are burning calories and getting stronger from the run. I believe that running has many parallels with life. It is when we push through things that are difficult that we become stronger as an individual. Don’t be afraid to get hurt or feel pain. These are the experiences that define us.
5) Walking back is going to take me twice as long, so I might as well keep moving.
My last bit of advice will be to be cautious when pushing through. It takes a wise mind to be able to read your body and determine when you are doing more hurt than good. 90% of the time running is a mental game that you have to push through. 10% of the time, we need to take a break and live to run another day. Be smart, run strong, and keep going.