Running – Attitude is Everything – Marathon – Ultra-Marathon

Being a runner, living an active/fitness based lifestyle can be challenging. The nature of these activities breeds periods of tiredness, physical pain, motivational slumps and disappointment. So how do you we overcome these challenges to keep moving and enjoy the highs, personal rewards and sense of accomplishment from all of our hard work?

Trust me there are times when my couch is calling out my name so loud it’s deafening. To skip a run is in reality no big deal. It is not great crime against humanity to give in. The FBI, Secret Service or the Fair Trade Commission is not going to mount up their black suburbans to come looking for you.  I also know that when I do heed it’s sirens call it makes it easier to fall for its trappings the next time.


Below I outline 7 simple actions and attitudes that can propel you forward when it might be easy to put off, delay or never go for that run.


  1. Keep a RUNNING journal.  Not only log your miles, but also write down things that you feel grateful for every day. Write down how that run made you feel, document the wonderful sights in nature that RUNNING provided or a new Personal Records from a race or new top pace maintained in training. Review these little goals, small rewards in down time and you’ll see how your attitude changes.
  2. View failure in a new light = growth.  Handling failure is a skill. Chalk every failure, slow race time, or bonking at a new long run distance as an opportunity to grow and improve. No one gets to slide through life without having to deal with coming up short. View failure as a step toward growth.
  3. Use positive words, positive self-talk to describe your life.  Your mind hears what you say. If you describe your life as boring, busy, mundane, chaotic, that is how you will perceive it and you will feel those effects in your body, mind and spirit.  Choose words like I am capable, I am strong, and I am able. Replay accomplishment in your personal self-talk, live in your victories, “I ran a fast 5k, I am a marathoner, and I ran a 100 miler.”
  4. Replace ‘have’ with ‘get’.  Your attitude quickly changes from needing to fulfill obligations to being grateful for the things that we become accustomed to having when you start to say, “I get to run tonight”, rather than “I have to do this.”  When its hard to run, think about all the people who wished they could do what we take for granted…”I GET to run for those who can’t.”
  5. Don’t let yourself get dragged into other people’s downtimes.  If a training partner takes a day off, keep up your end of the run. Skipping a workout leads to lower moods and negative emotions, decreased life satisfaction and optimism, and emotional and motivational deficits. Run when it’s tough…it will enable you to run again when another curve ball is thrown your way.
  6. Breathe.  Our breath is directly connected to our emotions. Have you noticed we hold our breath sometimes when we are concentrating on something? Can you feel your breath change when you are angry or anxious?  Our breath changes depending on how we feel. If life is messing with you, breathe, relax and slip on your running shoes, within the first mile you’ll be happy you did.
  7. Notice the righteous in times of tragedy.  In every instance of natural disasters, war, traumatic experience, you will find people rising up, reaching out to each other and showing raw compassion and love. Hold onto the stories of modern day heroes and selflessness in the times of fear and devastation. Use that overcoming spirit to propel you on your next outing, run to celebrate the human spirit, run to celebrate the victory of others.

I hope one or all of these positive actions and attitudes help you get out the door for that run when times may make it tough.


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