Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting In My Own Way

I had a revelation while running this morning.

I've heard that happens sometimes, but I usualy have such a hard time focusing on just one thought in my head as I run, that I've never experienced it before today. I was struggling through a short 3 mile run- pounding headache, upset stomach, tired legs and back- it was awful. And all I kept thinking to myself was, "I suck at this.", "I can't keep a pace and I can't run more than a mile before I have to stop.", "Why am I trying to run a half marathon? I'm never going to be ready." It was like this the ENTIRE run. Just one negative, berating thought after the other. I finished my run and moped back up the hill to my house, kicking myself all the way for not having done better.

And, that's when I realized why my training has been SO horrible this year. I've lost the joy of running. I am the reason I haven't been running- not work, or family, or weather- just me. I've been so critical and harsh on myself that I just can't enjoy my runs anymore. I mean, Wowsers! Talk about a negative rainstorm on my running parade!

If we look back at my runs this year; the ones where I went out with no mile or time goal were my best runs. Why? Because I just let myself run and enjoy it. I wasn't focusing on time, or pace, or ratios, or anything else. I just popped in my Yurbuds and ran for the sole purpose of running. On my shorter runs, where I was trying to make myself go faster or farther, I self-sabotaged. I became so focused on making myself run and run and run, all while being negative about it, that I got in my own way and created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have to try and break myself of this habit. (Especially before my half marathon in 30+ days.) I need to relax and find my joy factor again, otherwise I'm going to self-sabotage myself during the big race and I definitely don't want that! How can I do this though? How can I go out and just enjoy my runs again when all I can think about is how unprepared I feel for the upcoming race? It sucks. On one hand, I know that my finishing time doesn't matter, just the fact that I finish. But, on the other hand, I'm so competitive with myself that I'm going to be so distraught if I don't meet or beat my finish time from last year.

If I can just get myself to stop obsessing and stressing, I might be able to meet my finish time from last year. But, honestly, I just want to be able to go out there and run and have fun and enjoy the race. I don't want to have to worry about time and pace and all that stuff. So, the big question is- how do I make all the noise in my head stop? (Besides turning my music up louder.) I wasn't planning on running tomorrow morning, but I think I may go out for a short run, with no watch on, and just run. It's finally started to get cool out in the morning, I even had to run with a jacket on this morning, and I love this kind of weather, so why not go out and enjoy it, right? However, I'm still open to suggestions on how to combat that big-mouthed, negative voice in my head.


Stephanie Anne said...

I hope those negative thoughts go away!!

When I get down, I do a few workouts or races I know I'll roc & it totally boosts my mood.

Are you doing Hartford again? Hopefully I'll see you there!

Suz and Allan said...

Hope you rediscover your joy in running soon! I find that not obsessing about the time helps a lot.

Melissa C said...

It is so easy to get down on yourself. try to realize how blessed you are to be running and have a body that allows you to do it. I agree that doing a workout or route you love and can rock will totally help. Also, if you have an intimidating workout, try to break it into chunks in your mind so you don't get too bogged down. I do a lot of "out and back" routes, so it is easy to divide my run in half, and then in half again, so when I get 1/4 of the way done with the whole thing, I tell myself I am halfway to the halfway point, and stuff like that.

Ang said...

It's hard to stop listening to that little voice, isn't it? I hope things get brighter for you!

Anonymous said...


I started running Aug '11 at about 240 lbs. I did a 5K on Tgiving. I loved running. I liked the shorter distances. I liked getting out there, enjoying outside, easily fitting in a 5k three times a week without much stress and trying to beat my time.

This January I lost my DAAAANG mind and decided to sign up for a marathon with my church to build clean water wells with World Vision. Great cause, sure, however, I never even WANTED to do a marathon. Disney Princess Half- YES. Full- NEVER. Anywho, I lost my marbles, and signed up.

And can I say that right now my love for running is GONE? I empathize and TOTALLY understand how you feel. Running is now a stressful chore. Yes, knowing I just ran (walk, I interval train - walk/run) x amount of miles is cool, but that's not what made me love running. I beat myself about how long it takes and how my entire life revolves around running. It's made me do less training runs in the middle of the week.

This Sunday is the marathon and it'll be over. I look forward to resting weak and achy knees/ankles and then resuming what I love - 5ks and 10Ks.

So, my advice to you as someone who COMPLETELY understands and is in your position - JUST KEEP SWIMMING. You know on the day of the race you'll get swept up in it. You'll have no choice but to finish. That's how I look at it. And once that's over, then I can go back to what I LOVED. I hate training, but I love running. And some people might not understand, but I do.

JUST KEEP SWIMMING. It'll be over before you know it!