Ever since I started running, I’ve had this insane inner-monologue that resembles something of a delusional positive parent cheering its mediocre child on at the football pitch, whilst very high on drugs. I’ve tried to explain the concept to my friends who beat themselves up about being “too slow” or the ones who proclaim they “hate running” but carry on doing it because, as with anything, you should never underestimate the power of your thoughts. So here’s what I tell myself on a good run (don’t judge it ’til you’ve tried it).
1. YOU CAN DO THIS
This is perhaps the most obvious thing anyone should be thinking on a long run, but you have no idea how effective it is when carried out correctly. Try to really, really get into it. Make your inner voice shout “YOU CAN DO THIS” so loud it makes you giggle, then with determination say it over and over again until you start to believe it.
2. YOU’RE SO RIDICULOUSLY SPEEDY
Somehow, telling myself I am the fucking champion of the seafront when I’m all alone on a cold morning makes me run even faster. I once read that your mind can’t distinguish between lies and truth (it’s kind of handy like that) so if you tell yourself something over and over again, your mind will start to believe it.
3. I DON’T THINK ANYONE HAS EVER RUN THIS FAST
OK, some guy just overtook me but I bet he was the guy who won the marathon last year. I mean, I’m starting to get pretty alright at running but I will have to admit that this guy is probably better. Only marginally though. I’m going to have to chase him (for a whole 15 seconds before I cough up a part of my lung).
4. THIS IS THE MOST FUN I’VE EVER HAD
Breathing hurts, my thighs are burning and I’ve got a weird pain in my knee… BUT THIS IS THE BEST RUN EVER. THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST FUN I’VE EVER HAD. Again, if your mind can tell if you’re lying, just fake it ’til you make it.
5. JUST RUN LIKE GRETE WAITZ
Sometimes I like to watch YouTube videos of people winning marathons because I like to think that imitating successful people will make you better at whatever it is you’re trying to do. On a long run, I’m prone to start slouching and my posture becomes something similar to that of the hunchback of Notre-Dame (if you saw the picture of me crossing the Brighton Marathon finish line, you’d get me), so I have to constantly remind myself to pull my shoulders back and keep my head high. Like Grete Waitz.
6. IMAGINE YOU’RE RUNNING THE MARATHON
Whenever I think about running the marathon, it makes me embarrassingly emotional. It’s pretty much the best trigger I’ve got. Even when I hadn’t run a race at all, I used to make myself keep going by pretending my friends and family were cheering me on, which brings me to my next point…
7. STOP CRYING
I can get ridiculously tearful on a long run when nobody else is around. The amount of times I used to run down the seafront choking on my own held-back cries is silly. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something really cathartic about running for a prolonged period of time.
8. YOU’RE FASTER THAN ALL THE PEOPLE NOT RUNNING
This is my go-to motivator when I feel my legs dragging me along the pavement. There’s that quote that goes along the lines of however slow you’re running, you’re still faster than those sitting on the sofa. And it’s so true. On my shittest runs, I’ve still out-run those sitting at home watching Bake Off (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just have to keep my smug I’m-still-running face on until I finish).
9. YOU’RE PRETTY MUCH ALMOST DONE
Alright, so I’m 3K down and I’m running 18K, which means I’ve only got 15K left, which is pretty much just running 3K five times and that means I’ll be finished in a second. BOOM. Done. I mean, in just 15K.
Do you have an equally insane inner-monologue? If so, what does it tell you?
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