Athletics Magazine

6 Reasons You’re Not The Runner You Want To Be

By Brisdon @shutuprun

No matter who you are or what you do, there is always room for improvement. If I thought I was done growing (I am only 5’ 5” after all), I would probably shrivel up and die. For me, life has to be about continuing to improve, to learn, to experience, to risk, to GROW. But, even the best of us get stagnant sometimes.

Like any runner, I’ve had low points that have included injuries and illnesses. I’ve also had emotional/mental battles with running - times of feeling burned out, not good enough, unmotivated. I can usually connect these times to a few basic areas that are pulling me down and robbing me of my mojo. I wonder if you indulge in these problem areas too.

1. Comparing Too Much – Maybe you’ve read one too many posts on Facebook or tweets about other runners doing the most extraordinary things ever – qualifying for Boston! Coming in first in their age group! Doing a 15 mile training run and feeling GREAT!

You are happy for them, but you are also somewhat jealous. You think maybe those things are out of your reach. You think - what’s the point, I’ll never be able to do those things. Before you know it, your confidence is in the toilet along with your motivation and enthusiasm. When this downward spiral starts, you need to STOP. Stop your mind from telling you what you can and can’t do. Stop basing your running worth on what others are doing. Compare yourself only to yourself.


2. Getting Lazy – I’ve said this five million times on this blog: running, working out, training is a decision you make.  The trick to motivation is to not over think it. The minute you even contemplate not going and start making rationalizations for not going (I’m too…{fill in the blank} tired, constipated, menstrual, busy, cold, gassy) is the minute you are one step closer to not getting out the door. Shut up and stop being lazy and full of excuses. If you don’t go, you never know what you missed:


3. Talking Yourself Out of Being a Runner – If I had a potato chip for every time a runner told me they weren't sure they were a “real” runner, I’d be on the Biggest Loser (which might not be so bad considering you know who – Dolvett – is there). My point is - if you run, you are  a runner. No matter how fast or slow, how short or far. It doesn’t matter if you race every weekend or have never done a race. Don’t have all the fancy clothes, shoes and watches? Doesn’t matter.  The minute you break into a run/jog from a walk, you are running and you are a runner. Own it.

4. Listening To the Wrong People – It took me awhile, but in all of my infinite 46 year old wisdom, I finally learned that the company we keep and the messages that company gives us has a profound impact on not only our confidence, but our general outlook on life. Surround yourself with negative people and guess what? Your mood veers towards pessimism. Hang out with positive folks who boost you up? You are inspired, energized, courageous.

When I decided to do my Ironman, I had my doubts. If I had listened to the naysayers, I would probably would have still moved forward, but not with near the confidence. The people who believed in me never waivered. And, that made me never waiver too. Choose to be around people who are forward thinkers, dreamers, go-getters, risk takers. See what happens.


5. Letting a Setback Define You – Let’s face it. We’ve all had horrible runs and races. Most of us have been injured. Lots of us have set lofty goals that have not been reached. We’ve DNS’d, DNF’d and/or have been DFL. So what? Take adversity as a personal challenge to become stronger. I mean, if this girl can run a marathon a few months after this picture was taken, then you can bounce back too (my farts are so bad sometimes I have to wear a mask).


6. Losing Perspective – We runners can get obsessed. Tunnel vision is our diagnosis. We are so set on things going a certain way, that we’ve lost our flexibility and our ability to see the big picture. Running is important, it is a huge and important part of your life. However, if you over emphasize its importance, then you have also lost balance in your life. Cut yourself a break, do something else you love to do and remember to lighten up and to not take yourself so seriously. Maybe you’ll actually start to fall in love with running again.


Are you guilty of any of the above? I’ve done #1, #5 and #6 over and over again. I need to remind myself to not compare, to bounce back, and to keep perspective. These are my struggles.


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