Four mental challenges in my running journey

You know that kid in school who always gets picked last in P.E.? That was me. Whether it was volleyball, gymnastics, or just jogging a couple of laps, I was not the athletic type. I did play tennis for a while and still love to play, but that was about it. 

Times changed and as I grew up I eventually started relying on physical activity to ease my anxiety and stress. And between dating an avid runner and looking for ways to improve my mental health, running became part of my workout plan. I slowly went from being unable to run for one minute straight to completing my first 5k last year – something I’m pretty proud of. 

Now, this is no easy journey and I still consider myself a beginner. Underneath the runner’s high and sense of accomplishment, I still face plenty of challenges as a runner. Let’s talk about four of them. 

Not being patient

I’ll just get this out of the way – I am NOT patient. When I want something, I want it now. I’m known for getting frustrated when I don’t get something right the first time around or when a goal takes longer than expected. 

From not recovering fully after an injury (more on that later) to wanting to run faster than I should, patience is definitely not my strong suit. 

Comparing myself to others

At least once a day I’ll scroll through Instagram, come across the most perfect picture of a gorgeous runner crossing the finish line at a marathon, and think I’m a failure for not being able to do that yet – or I’ll feel like my shoes aren’t expensive enough, or notice that my hair doesn’t hold that well when running. The list goes on. I’m trying to focus on my journey without caring so much about where others are in theirs. Easier said than done though. 

Ignoring small goals

Celebrating small goals is another big challenge I’ve been facing. Sometimes my biggest achievement of the day is getting out of bed and doing a 10 minute workout, other times it’s shaving a few seconds off of my PB. But for some reason it all seems ‘too small’ to celebrate. 

Even when I’ve accomplished something big – like completing my first 5k – I seem to forget about it quickly and not give myself the credit I deserve. I’m definitely trying to leave this habit behind. 

Not taking time to recover 

I’m circling back to this one because I actually have a small injury in my right shin as I write this. Of course, I couldn’t wait until I felt fully recovered and I ran 30 minutes on the treadmill with a 6% incline two days ago. Now, the pain that was slowly going away has returned in full swing. Did I mention I’m very impatient? 

I’ve learned the hard way that you can only recover from an injury by – wait for it – resting. MAJOR life hack!!! 

These are just some of the mental roadblocks I’ve faced in my running journey, and I’m sure more will come as I go further down this rabbit hole. But that’s why I’m doing this after all – to overcome my own obstacles and call myself out when necessary. No one said it would be easy, but (I sure hope) it’s worth it. 

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