This may sound like an oxymoron for runners or anyone thinking about running, when pain and suffering may seem like the only way to get faster. While there is a certain amount of discomfort that is required to improve, when you do it correctly and embrace it as part of the process to feel better (aka it feels better to run faster or more efficiently) then you have made one of the most important mental shifts to improve as a runner – and in fact, everyday life.
Sure, who doesn’t want to feel good? But when running? The key lies in your mental/runner’s mindset. Here are a few questions to help you understand how your mental process sets you up or undermines you to feel good.
When you are getting ready to go for a run, do you focus on how it makes you feel good or more about getting through it?
While running, are you more focused on pace or enjoying the experience?
Do you allow yourself warm-up time so you can ease into feeling and running better or do you jump right in and tough it out over that first “dreaded” mile?
Do you have prescribed pacing goals based on your races or a mile time trial or are you “winging it” to see how long you can hang in there?
Do you believe you can feel good running? If not, what can you do to feel better when running?
Most of us spend more energy when running or in daily life trying to toughing it out vs. accepting what is and where we are at and building from that point. It’s an important mental shift that allows you to appreciate where you’re at today and how you can make the most of it.
Before your next run, ask yourself what will make you feel good about this run, based on where you are at today and your current level of training/fitness (vs. where you hope or wish you would be). During your run, ask yourself again, am I happy? If not, what will make me happy about this run? Even if finishing is what will make you happiest, that’s OK too, At least you acknowledge where you’re at and that you will ultimately end up in a happy place.
And this is where making feeling good your priority begins.