How To Inspire Yourself Before, During And After Your Run.
I’m typing this immediately after another hilly 18 mile run about town. I won’t go into the specifics but my entire right side is bleeding and I didn’t get into a fight with a bull.
Anyway today’s 18 miler is important as it’s my 3rd at that distance in 10 days. I’ve now ran 18 miles 9 times in 3 years and 33% of those workouts have come within a fortnight.
I’m feeling inspired!
So in today’s post I’ll talk about ways that you can inspire yourself before, during and after a run!
Inspiring yourself before a run
- Don’t let pre-run fear overwhelm you – When I was training for my first marathon I always had a sense of dread looming over me before each run. What if I stopped short of my mileage target? What if I got attacked when I was outside? What if I got lost in up in the hills? In all likelihood the worst thing that can happen is you cancelling your run. You’ll be safe out there if you take care.
- Listen to your favourite music to get yourself pumped up – Be liberal on the volume too. The best way to get the endorphins flowing is to blast the songs you’ve always loved. You’ll quickly find the inspiration to move and when the motivation strikes don’t wait about. It’s fleeting! Get out there and do it now whilst you have the energy!
- Become your future yourself – How will you feel later if you skip this run? Pretty bad. How will you feel in you go out today and record the run of a lifetime? Pretty damn good. If you never run again after today how will you feel in a few years time when your fitness is at rock bottom? You don’t have to go all-out on every run. Get out there now and build a stronger future you!
- Get out the fucking door – Don’t over analyse everything. If you think too much about how far you’ve to run then you’ll talk yourself out of running. Just get out the door in the first place and let the run come to you. The act of running always seems to be much more difficult than it really is once you’re outside. A mile on your legs is much shorter than a mile in your mind. Your negative self will always dwell on the difficult parts of a run but never the fun bits.
- You will get stronger if you take that first step today out the door – You won’t get better by procrastinating and making grand plans for tomorrow. That’s all just mental masturbation. Start now.
- Under promise, over deliver – If you’re struggling to go out on your run, set yourself a small target that you know you can achieve. Once you hit your goal, celebrate your success and continue on even further. If necessary, deceive yourself into a positive mindset. It’s better to celebrate any success than to dwell on all of your perceived failures.
Motivating yourself during the run
- Running isn’t gonna get easier unless you put in the work today – Make every run count regardless if it involves staying on your feet for longer, running at a faster pace or doing more hills. It’s better to put in the effort in training today than to be caught short during a race. Eventually you’ll hit a point where all of the extra work pays dividends and you can relax more on the run. You are investing in your future by pushing yourself beyond what you believe to be possible.
- Your negative mind will give you 150 different reasons to stop – You only need 1 reason to continue. Don’t give in. Try your best to relax into the run and ignore all negative thoughts. All that matters is you keep on moving forward. Don’t get involved in a conversation with your negative self. You can try to throw positivity back at it but it will continue to throw up excuses to make you stop.
- If you’re wanting to run for distance and are having trouble increasing the amount you can cover per run, focus on making small improvements on each run – Did you cover 5 miles on your last run? Aim for 5.02 miles today. On your next run go for 5.04. If you do this on every run then over time you’ll be able to last for longer. Sustained incremental improvements over time reap massive benefits. That’s how I went from running an average of 5 miles in 2012 to averaging over 12 in 2013. I could never have dreamed of that before.
- If you’re having a bad run, know that it won’t last forever – The run will be over before you know it. It won’t pass if you keep repeating negative thoughts and mantras in your mind. Time will pass more quickly if you don’t put up a resistance to running. You can talk about how much you fucking hate running all you want, but that won’t get you home. The more you run through feelings of mental discomfort, the stronger your mind will come.
- Return to focusing on your breathing if you get lost in a negative thought loop – Ask yourself two questions. 1) Am I still breathing. 2) Am I still moving forward? If you answer yes to both of those questions then you’re doing excellent. If you answer no to question 1, then please consult a mortician at once.
- Smile when the going gets tough – This might sound cheesy but I’ve got into the habit of grinning like a fucking maniac when I’m struggling. Why? I find it actually helps my mindset. I don’t drop into a bottomless pit of despair and negativity. I celebrate running every second longer.
After a run
- Log your runs on a tracking service such as Daily Mile – I’ve started using Daily Mile quite a bit for inspiration. It’s great as you contacts can send you inspiration and comment on your runs. This can provide invaluable feedback into how your training is progressing.
- Try not to ‘reward’ yourself with junk food if you’re jogging for weight loss – You won’t thank yourself later on when you see that it’s hurting your attempts to better yourself. I had to discover this the hard way in 2012 when I’d routinely eat junk food post-run and made zero progress over the course of the year. Nowadays I try to go for the healthier options. Instead of buying a Domino’s Spanish Sizzler after a long run I will opt for a smaller fresh vegetarian pizza.
- Don’t worry about tomorrow’s run today – If you’ve been out and had a tough session then the idea of having to do this many times a week can seem totally daunting. Concentrate on each day’s run as it comes. You can make your next run easier by eating and thinking better today.
- Don’t dwell on the negatives of each run – Find as many positives as you can. Start with the fact that you actually ran today. That’s a good thing. Did you conquer any negative feelings? Did you continue on when you wanted to stop? These are all positives that you can build from. Always turn a negative into a positive. For example instead of saying “shit I’m slow as hell! I suck!” say “I may be slow now, but in my next run I will aim to run faster”. Learn the lessons you need to learn and move on.
- There is hope – You will become a better runner if you keep trying and focus on eating healthier. It’s all up to you. You’re in control of your own body.