Coping With Negative Anxious Thoughts While Running – When Your Mind Is Your Own Worst Enemy
The greatest obstacle that I face as a runner is my own mind.
If a run starts to get tough then my mind will become over-active, pumping out all sorts of toxic nonsense.
- You can’t run for crap.
- You’re too tired to run today.
- Call this running? it’s barely trotting!
- Everyone’s staring and laughing at you y’gawky idiot.
- Let’s go home and get some burgers. After all, all you’re good for is eating.
The only thing I can do is to observe the thoughts in my mind and to not get embroiled in an argument with myself. This might sound crazy, but it’s common in many runners that I have talked to.
The more I argue with myself, the more powerful the negativity becomes. It infects my entire body and causes me to stiffen up and lose my running form.
I’ve found that negative thoughts come in cycles. It will start with something like.
“You can’t do this”
And just as I say this to myself, my body will wince as if something has physically changed. This will cause an even more powerful wave of negativity to strike.
The doubt is intoxicating and attacks me when I’m already down.
The only way to defeat it is to realise that there is only one of you. The real you is the body that’s doing the running.
Stop thinking and do the running!
Focus on how your body feels as you strike the ground. Have a look around at nature. Do anything to stop yourself sliding inwardly as what the mind creates does not reflect reality.
You only need to pay attention to your breathing and real pain or fatigue signals. Do not enter into any arguments with yourself over your own self worth as a runner.
You will only drag yourself downward.