I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling pretty good and looking forward to running home from my boyfriend’s house. It’s about a 7k run from point A to point B but I intended on taking a longer route to turn it into a 10K run. The running route isn’t exactly exciting, flat terrain and nothing to see but houses. After 2k had passed I felt like my legs had just ran 8k, what was going on? This was not the fast easy run I had envisioned. I got frustrated once I realized that I was off my pace time. I wanted to call an Uber. Instead, I saw an opportunity to work on my mental game.
I understand how important it is to have a solid mindset when it comes to fitness. An acquaintance of my mine, who was training for an iron man, said to me, “forget about the burning muscles and soreness, the real battle is in the mind.” Amen brother! He was absolutely on point. Staying focused, positive and intentional could be the difference in doing 12 repetitions of back squats or 15 repetitions when you’re tired. However, I admit that I rarely think about training this component of my fitness. I use to think that a tough mental mindset was only necessary for those who ran marathons, ultramarathons or triathlons but in reality you have the opportunity to work on your mental state anytime you put yourself into a physically or mentally uncomfortable situation. For instance maintaining your pace for entire 15K, adding a HIIT at the end of you 8K run, or not freaking out when someone laps you.
Eventhough I was struggling on my run I didn't want to give up. I had to change the negative chatter from, “I’m slow, I’m weak , I’m fat,” to “I’m doing okay, I’m strong, I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” The other thought that crossed my mind was, “what would I tell my participants?” I would tell them to focus and keep going, so that is what I tried to do.
I focused on a mile at a time, took water breaks, and stretched when I needed. I made it home. It took me longer than I expected but I did it.
What I took away from my experience was that I should give up running, just kidding. I’m glad I had this experience because it reminded me of the importance of working on this aspect of myself, which lends itself to other parts in my life. If you ever find yourself in a tough situation, watch the chatter in your head, cancel the negative talk, speak life into yourself and know that you can do it. These elements are all key in improving your mental game whether during fitness or life.
This is your girl signing off