I recently realized why I am able to endure distance running. It is often said that running requires a unique mindset. My realization might just add proof to that theory.
The other day I was out for a run in the warm summer heat. Lately I’ve had a few struggle runs and whenever it gets warmer, I tend to feel nervous about how things will go. On this particular run, I made it to the halfway point and turned around feeling stronger than I had anticipated. That is always a good feeling when you are uncertain of the outcome.
I started thinking about upcoming races that I haven’t signed up for. There are two marathons this fall that had been on my radar, but due to work schedules, they aren’t going to happen. There are also a few shorter races that I have been considering but the thought of them made me a bit anxious.
I started questioning why shorter distances make me so nervous compared to the half and full marathon. I’m not ashamed to admit that the 5k is a distance I avoid. I despise that race. To me, it is a sprint. I have a competitive mind when it comes to races (my husband would tell you that is also the case with many things in life). As much as I try, it is incredibly difficult for me to just “run” a race. I’ve attempted this during a 5k and the moment I start getting passed by young kids, I can’t help myself.
To race a 5k is in my mind, a mad dash. It is 3.1 miles of fast running and feeling absolutely awful at the finish. A 10k has a slightly better pace for me.
The half and full marathons are mentally easier for me because you can slow that pace a bit and settle in. The key, I realized is that I’ve learned to learn to hold onto uncomfortable at that distance.
Running, in general, is an uncomfortable experience. As you begin moving, your lungs work harder, you heart has to pump blood more efficiently, your muscles must do more. Every cell in your body has to push more. It is a taxing situation and it is uncomfortable. It is hard!
Learning to deal with the uncomfortable, to hold onto that feeling, and to move your mind away from that feeling is the key to enduring any distance. You will likely always feel uncomfortable to some extent during running, but it will get easier. That uncomfortable becomes more manageable.
Our minds are a vital tool in the sport of running. Finding ways to hold onto that uncomfortable is the key to enduring.
How do you hold onto uncomfortable?