Running Mind Games

When you run, you focus on your feet and legs, right?

Let’s turn our focus to your state of mind before and during a run. Have you ever heard the phrase that running is all in your head? Sure, there is a physical aspect that you need to take into consideration when you first start or if you have to train hard for a race or other competition. However, in my fitness journey, I have found many times that my biggest limitations are the ones that I have mentally placed on myself. I am not the only one that thinks this way.

Check out this article in Women’s Running about the mind games runners face:

The Hardest Parts Of Running Are All In Your Head

Do you want an example? Okay, so you are going out on a run and you have your tunes, your ear buds, your shades, everything is all set. Then your kids throw a fit when you drop them off at your mom’s house. Then you drop your full icy cold water bottle and have to clean it up and then refill it. You say a prayer, calm yourself, and set out to conquer this run! Then you run into construction, or potholes, or negative frustrating signs that make you doubt yourself. Part of you may want to turn back. The other part of you (the stubborn side) will say “Hey, I’m not gonna stand for this! I will not conform to your limitations of my skills!”

( I know, a little dramatic, so I’ve heard)

The second I saw this regular road sign, I thought “Don’t tell me what to do, road sign! You don’t know me! You don’t know if I am able to pass another runner or if they are able to pass me! I will pass that imaginary runner that I am racing against and you can’t stop me!” Whew, what a mental battle with a road sign that never did anything to me, right? I do that when I’m running in the gym on a treadmill next to an innocent bystander as well. I don’t know them, we don’t talk. I just immediately regard them as my competition in my head. If they go faster, I go faster, if they run longer, I run longer. I have certain songs on my running playlist that if I hear them, I have an agreement with myself that I will either pick up the pace or run longer than I had intended. Like I said, it’s a mind game…

So every time I go out to run, I can choose to let those negative thoughts scare me and slow me down. Or, I can choose to make them motivators to get better. I can think of myself as punching the potholes and construction cones and carry on with strength and courage.

In spite of all of this struggle back and forth, I have never regretted a workout. I may not be running a race each time and have actual competitors. But, I find ways to challenge myself and keep on running as if I have competitors and as if there is a prize to be won. I always feel better about myself knowing that at least I went out and broke a sweat and did my best. I have always regretted skipping a workout! How about you?

Blessings! Keep on running the race!


1 Corinthians 9:23-25New International Version (NIV)

23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.