Running – Getting Your Head in the Game

Running is a funny sport. It is often times used as punishment for others sports. But for some, it is used as enjoyment. For me, I chose the latter. But there have been many times throughout my career that I felt as though it was punishment.

I began running when I was in elementary school. At that point, I was too young and naive to think anything of running. Besides, I ran the 50 meter dash, and that was over before you could say “the sun shines on the shop signs” five times fast, without stuttering :). As I progressed throughout the years, I moved up in distance and eventually decided to run cross country. Cross country is an incredibly tough sport. In high school, athletes run a 5 kilometer course, or 3.1 miles over a grassy, hilly terrain of some sort. Believe me, running on grass is HARD!

I was mediocre at cross country throughout high school and college. My main focus was the track. I ran the 800 meters. For me, I liked track because there was a set start and end point I could see. It was flat. It was predictable. It was…an all out sprint. To be honest, I don’t know why I liked that event, but I thrived in it. I began as a 3 minute half miler as a freshman to a 2 minute 16 second, state medalist as a senior. Hard work pays off.

Eventually high school ended and so did college, and all that was left was 5K’s, half-marathons, marathons, etc. No more 800’s. And so the process began, converting my brain to become a long distance runner. I was successful at doing this, and have since been able to turn in 3 marathons with top 5 performances.

So how did I do this? Let’s take a look:

  1. Stress is a big deal in running. Don’t set yourself up to have grand expectations in any race. This can cause a lot of anxiety, erratic breathing, and disappointments.
  2. Go into a race with the pure joy of just being able to run.
  3. Enjoy the process of training. Don’t fret too much on missing specific times in workouts, or missing a workout here and there. You WILL be prepared by the time your race comes around. Have confidence in that.
  4. When race day comes, know that you put in all of the hard work you were able to. Use the race as a celebration of that.

Truly, everything boils down to keeping your stress level as low as possible. My first marathon I ran, I had no idea what I was doing. I went into the race with very low expectations (not saying you should do this). I expected to be walking at mile 20. Instead I ran the whole race and enjoyed every minute of it. I have had my slew of injuries, and now each time I am ABLE to run, I truly appreciate that. Never take things for granted.


5 thoughts on “Running – Getting Your Head in the Game”

  1. I love this. Your post reminded me that I actually did one of those 50 meter dashes when I was younger. I don’t think I did very well and chose to block it out later in life. haha. It’s so cool that running has always been in your life. I had a love/hate relationship with it growing up. Thankfully, I love it now. Although, I will admit, I have my hate moments too. πŸ™‚

    1. Haha, don’t worry I am right there with you – love/hate relationship! I try to appreciate those moments when I am running a race and dying more now, since I’ve had injuries, but I certainly have my moments where I am not very fond of it at that present time! πŸ™‚

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