Then, I ordered (and read) The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer. It deals with the mental aspect of training just as much as the physical component. I realized that the negative messages that I was sending to myself the whole time I was running had been keeping me from success. Usually, something like this might be going through my head "If I can just get to that stop sign, then I can stop running. I think I can do it. I just have to get to that stop sign. Man, that stop sign is really far away...."
This week, I have been consciously replacing those thoughts with positive messages like these "I can easily get to that stop sign. No problem. I can keep running after that, if I want to. I feel amazing. I love to run. This feels incredible. I am getting faster and faster."
At first, I felt a little silly. But, I did it anyway. And, when I looked down at my watch, I realized that I had been running for 22 minutes. And it was easy. I felt like I really could have kept running! I couldn't believe how much the mental and physical affect each other.
So, the last day or so, I have been paying more attention to the messages that I tell myself in regards to other areas of my life. And it is really helping! It is almost like a self-fulfilling prophesy. If I believe that I can't run two miles, then I am unable to do it. If I believe that it is going to be an awful day, boom, it is. Because my mental attitude shapes a lot of my reality. Obviously, there will always be outside forces that I can't control. And, there are things that will never be possible, no matter what my internal dialogue says. I will never win the Tour De France. So telling myself that I can would just be kind of lame.
But there are plenty of other things that I can control, just by my attitude and the way that I choose to perceive my current situation. I would consider myself a generally positive person, but as with most aspects of life, there is always room for improvement. I am feeling the affects of being more positive in regards to running and I am working to be more aware of what I think and say to myself during other times too.
It requires continually practicing contentment, gratefulness, and thankfulness.
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" -Hebrews 12:1
*Creative commons image from tangywolf on flickr.com