BE Savvy

How NOT to Psyche Yourself Out of Running

By  | 
Running (Image: iStock.com/Geber86)

I fell off. I haven’t seen the inside of a gym in years and when I do work out (rarely), it’s a home routine of yoga or a few sit-ups and push-ups.

See, here’s the thing. I know you’re thinking here she goes with the excuses. And I’m afraid you’re right. I work long hours at times, and the inside of a happy hour or burger joint is more appealing than the inside of a gym. So imagine my surprise (enter sarcasm) as I found myself breathing heavily each time I ascended the subway stairs, one breath after the other, each one harder than the last.

I determined it was time to get moving and what better way to get started than go for a quick run? After the first, and very difficult I might add, run, I began to think, “If it was this hard today, I’m supposed to do this again tomorrow?” I immediately stopped myself. Thoughts of doubt started to creep into my mind, and I recognized that the quickest way to pysche myself out of running was to allow those thoughts to take over. So I became my own cheerleader and made a commitment to a specific goal of running a 5K.

In the same boat with me? Looking to start running? Here’s how to NOT psyche yourself out:

You have to train your brain

Don’t judge your workouts. Some runs may prove better than others. You just have to acknowledge that a run is just a run—nothing more, nothing less. Start slow and set realistic, obtainable goals. Also, alternating between walking and running is an effective way to introduce the increased demands of running.

Minutes vs. Miles

Knox Robinson, Nike+ Run Club coach and co-founder of Black Roses NYC Running Collective, shared this gem with Men’s Health. “Think about running in terms of “minutes” versus “miles.” It sounds super basic, but it’s a total shift in how you view your training.” Duly noted.

Mantras work

I have a go-to mantra that gets me pumped up and ready for success. After all, mental preparation is just as key. Robinson also  says, “… just as we invest time in the physical aspect of running, we need to spend time getting the mind used to being “out there”—being connected with the body and what it’s doing, but also relaxed and fully engaged in the run itself.”

That jamming playlist? Save it for the run.

Music pushes me during my runs, and is frankly a great distraction from the challenges I experience while running. I mix up my playlists and jam out. If you’re running outside, just make sure you’re able to hear what’s going on around you. Safety first.

Cheers to small victories. Celebrate!

I now have a little ritual that I conduct every time I finish a run—because every finish is a victory to me. I look forward to it and it allows me focus on the why of it all.

How do you keep yourself motivated to run? Let me know in the comments.