Like most every runner I’ve ever talked to, sometimes I just abso-freaking-lutely do not want to go for a run.
There. I said it.
It’s not just the running that can feel so discouraging, it’s all the prep that goes into it… prepping the playlist, packing the mid-run munchies, prepping the pre-run meal the night before if it’s an early morning run, putting my running clothes out; do I even have any running clothes that are clean and don’t smell like my my brother’s putrefying hockey gear bag from when we were kids?
Oh, sh*t… I forgot to do laundry so now I have to run in gear that smells like my brother’s putrefying hockey gear bag from when we were kids.
Good thing I like to run solo.
So let’s assume that I can do all of this with a smile on my face (which is usually the case, thankfully), but then the overwhelming thought of going out to run 10, 11, 12+ miles just feels like much too much.
A few years ago I read an interview with John Stanton, founder and CEO of The Running Room, and even he admitted that sometimes he really doesn’t want to lace up either. How does someone who’s built his life’s work around running motivate himself to run? I expected some kind of a Yoda-like response but in actuality his answer was so simple:
“I tell myself, ‘Just go out there and put one foot in front of the other. I can go as slow as I want, but just put one foot in front of the other.'”
(…or something like that. I read the quote almost 10 years ago so forgive my memory if I’ve misquoted.)
Putting it to the test
Seriously? I can go as slow as I want? No pressure? Hmn…
Low and behold, it works every time.
And really, that’s all running is when you boil it down to its essence: simply putting one foot in front of the other as fast or as slow as your body will allow.
This was the case for my 8 mile tempo run yesterday. My brain was throwing out every excuse it could muster up as to why I should just stay in my condo and have an afternoon nap. Dear Gawwwwd, how I love a good nap!
“Just go out there and put one foot in front of the other. You can go as slow as you want. No expectations.”
Worked like a charm. Gear on, shoes laced, music playing – out the door I go!
Because I took the pressure off myself in feeling like I needed to “train”, and instead just gave myself permission to be human, once I warmed up and my legs got going, I ran my fastest 10k segment and my fastest 8 miles (12km) ever. My Nike app predicted I’d run the 8 miles in 1 hr and 20 mins… well, BOOM! I ran it in 1 hr and 12 minutes! #MicDrop
The same is true in life. When we have massive task in front of us, whether it be a project at work or a major life goal like losing weight, we so often look at the aggregate of it and feel defeated even before we begin. We don’t even give ourselves the chance to feel our worthiness of the process rather than defining ourselves based on an outcome of something we haven’t even started yet.
Fair? Not really.
The magic of one
I’ve learned a lot about how I want to approach and feel about life from running. All that’s needed is to break whatever’s in front of us up into little sections – just write one email, just lose one pound, just put one foot in front of the other.
We need to give ourselves the permission to flow into whatever’s in front of us, as opposed to beating the results out of ourselves.
And along the way, more often than not, the results will be better than we could have ever hoped and we will have also cared for ourselves along the way (what a concept!). We deserve to give ourselves that much because we’re freaking amazing.
See you on the trails and happy running, friends!
Days to Marathon: 70