Beginning the Mental Game of Running

By Kelsey Murray

When I was in high school, one of my really good friends was an avid runner. I always thought she was a little strange, because come on, how many high school students do you know who wake up early in the morning to go work out before classes? I knew one, and it was Jesse D.

Recently, I met with Jesse for coffee at our favorite spot and we started talking about running. I expressed an interest in the sport (because now that I’ve become accustomed to early mornings, it didn’t seem like such a scary thing to do). I have never ran before as a form of exercise, so Jesse knew she would need to take her time when giving me suggestions. I had done the research of how to physically start running and how to avoid injuries, but nobody had offered any information about the mental aspects of running. Here are some of the nuggets of information that Jesse shared with me about the mind-game that is running.

“Talk to yourself, do not listen to yourself,” Jesse said. “There will always be those days when you do not ‘feel like’ running. If you passively listen to and give in to this ‘feeling,’ you will feel discouraged for several reasons. One of these reasons is that you will feel disappointed in yourself for failing to work towards your goal immediately when you decide not to go running. Then later, you will regret not running. Also, it becomes easier to drop the newly found running habit altogether if you start missing runs.”

“Instead, you must intentionally and actively build your association of good feelings with running,” she said. “So, you must tell yourself that you actually do want to go running. Why do you want to go running? Because when you walk out of your door and hit the road, you feel accomplished for having stuck with it even though you could have quit. You’ll feel good during the run because you know that success is in progress, and you’ll feel good after the run because you will reap so many benefits, such as an endorphin high, a revved up metabolism, and  a confident new stride in your favorite outfit.”

“So when you begin to hear that voice saying, ‘Eh, maybe not today…’ you have to tell it, ‘No way, girl! Remember how good you felt last time?'”

Jesse also offered a tip concerning the tricky topic of proper running posture: “Run as if there are hot guys watching you and you happen to be in the sexiest little black dress you’ve ever bought!”

She says this is important because it will make you stand up straight, engage your abs, and maintain proper posture for your entire run. Also if you train in this position, you are more likely to maintain it after your run, which will improve your overall posture.

After we finished our coffee, I went out and bought a pair of running shoes, then I hit the trails. I only went a mile that first day, but you can bet I had proper posture the entire time!

Also Read:

Running 101

Beginner’s Guide to Barefoot Running

How to Start Running

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.