So here’s the thing. I had no intention of running two half marathons this year, let alone within a few months of each other. But here I am, a week out from the SF 1st Half Marathon.
Can I tell you something? Starting a few weeks ago, I’ve been plagued with negative thoughts. I’m usually pretty resilient. I can suck it up and make my way through a hard or challenging workout or work project. I’m can handle most cases of self-doubt (generally freaking out a little before moving on).
Except when that self-doubt has something to do with an injury or a potential injury. Or, better known as, Fear of Re-Injury.
Over the last few weeks, my body has started to talk back to me…a lot. With each comment from my body, my head fills with negative thoughts and frustration – frustration that my body won’t cooperate and that I appear to be falling apart at 38. And the thoughts and frustration weighs down on me, making my body feel heavy. Each run feels that much harder. On a few runs, I have literally stopped running to shake the negative thoughts out of my head.
It happened again this morning. 3 miles into my 6 mile run, I was done. I stopped and pretended to stretch because, I mean, I wouldn’t just stop on the side of the road for no reason, right? I let the negative thoughts wash over me. I texted my husband. And then I was done with them. I realized that those thoughts didn’t serve me.
That’s something that I say a lot when I teach yoga – If this pose isn’t serving you, don’t do it. Do what serves you and your body in this moment.
I finished my run in a much better mindset than when I started. Not surprisingly, my foot and ankle felt better too.
And it’s kinda like this pose – Eka Pada Koundinyasana II (which I was thinking about on my run since it was the featured pose for one of the yoga challenges that I’m sort of participating in). For months, I told myself no way I could do EPK. No way. I can’t figure out arm balances. I’m not strong enough.
But slowly, I’ve been practicing and I’ve been finding my balance. Today, when I did this pose, I felt like I could fly. My back leg floated up and my body felt light.
My friend Jolene said that she loved how I was turning the negative thoughts into positive energy, balance and focus and it reminded me how we choose to perceive a situation can truly affect the outcome, our attitude and our mindset.
So maybe I’ll fly during my race too?
- Write about it. Post about it. Tweet about it. I don’t always share the things that I struggle with while I’m in the moment but I decided to post about my run and self-doubts today on Instagram and Facebook. And I am so grateful and appreciative of the support that I received. The mantras and words of wisdom (and commiseration) helped boost my confidence and overcome those negative thoughts. It surprises me how the blogging and social media communities will rally around and support each other.
- Let it go. If it doesn’t serve you, let it go. I’m not saying don’t acknowledge the negative thoughts and feelings but don’t let yourself drown in those feelings or start to internalize those messages. It’s OK to wallow in your feelings for a few minutes but then let them go.
- Remember what you have accomplished. There’s this one hill in Prospect Park that sometimes sucks the energy out of me. It also happens to be the hill I run for hill repeats. When I approach it and the negative thoughts start to creep into my head, I remind myself that I have run 9 x hill repeats when it was hot and humid and right now, I just have to run up it once. Remember the hard work that you’ve put into your training.
- A good coach helps too. Especially one who doesn’t treat you like you’re nuts, reminds you to take care of yourself and sends you articles to read like this and this.
- Believe you can fly. If you don’t believe you can fly/run/swim/bike/yoga/etc., of course you’re going to have a hard time achieving your goals and you’ll likely fail. It sounds silly but if you don’t believe in the impossible, it never will be possible.
Have you struggled with negative self-talk? How do you overcome negative thoughts?
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