So you signed up for the “Beauty and the Beach 5 Mile Run.” Congratulations on making an excellent choice! It is going to be a great race. But, maybe right about now some of you beauties may be thinking, “What the heck was I thinking registering for this race?” If you are having that moment, then you need to write this down. Go ahead I will wait. Get one of those sticky note-it things… Good you’re back. Here’s what you need to write down: “Don’t register for any races after a glass of wine.” Great, now put that by your computer. Wine only makes everything seem like a good idea at the time.
But in all seriousness, there are many runners, with or without alcohol onboard, who get that energized feeling when they register for a race, but then quickly get a feeling of remorse after they paid their registration fee. I know this has happened to me. So why might we go from being energized one moment to thinking we were crazy the next? In a matter of 30 seconds you have not changed! It may be you are experiencing self doubt, maybe you never ran this distance before and this race is a new challenge. Or maybe you are thinking you are being wildly optimistic after an injury and believe you will be fully recovered by race day. Or maybe this is your first race! Yay, you!!
If you are new to running you might be wondering if you can do this. Well, chances are if this is your first race and you have never trained for a race or run before, then today you can’t do it. But that doesn’t mean after 10-12 weeks of training that you won’t be able to do it. Over the course of the weeks you will train, something incredibly beautiful is going to happen. Imagine this, you will have a plan, begin training and with each run you will grow stronger. Heck, every time you lace up your sneakers and head out of the door you will grow and change.
Running is truly about routine, consistency and persistence. Show up and get it done and you will improve. Do it even when you don’t feel like doing it. Don’t think about the next run, just run this run. You will have some good runs and some bad runs. You won’t feel well, or you will be tired. But every run, if you open yourself up to the notion, will teach you something. In fact, there really are no bad runs. It is just a learning opportunity when it doesn’t go according to plan.
I learned a lot from the runs that didn’t go so smoothly. There was one race I was training for and I was having a particularly difficult time. I would run a little and then stop and walk. I knew I could run the mileage on my training plan without walking, but for some reason I just kept alternating between walking and running. This was not in my plan. I kept doing this off and on. I was really mad at myself. The more I kept doing it, the more self doubt crept in. I was nearly ready to drop out of the race. I finally realized no one was going to make this better for me so I had better decide whether or not I was going to commit to running this race. Then this thought popped into my mind, “See, you’re not a runner after all.”
Later that day I was hanging out with a friend and her daughter was running all around us. She was so carefree! And it struck me. This little girl doesn’t think she isn’t a runner. She is what she does. She is running and she is a runner. She didn’t have to put on a GPS watch or adjust her clothing because she is worried about chafing. She was just running and having fun. It was easy.
So what is a runner? Simply, a runner is someone who runs. If you ran on the playground as a kid, you are a runner. If you ran after your toddler today, you are a runner. If you ran ¼ mile repeats, you are a runner, too. But wherever you are on your journey of being a runner, if you want more, more speed, more distance, or just to finish your first race you can get there.
If you are feeling self doubt, maybe thinking you are not a runner, know that you can do this and that you’re already a runner, but you just might need to do some training to achieve your particular goal. So if this is your first race just keep lacing up; if you are recovering from an injury be kind to yourself; and if this race is a new distance for you know that training will help get you where you want to be. Check out our website to see when we will be meeting down in Long Branch for some fun group runs. This will be an amazing experience! See you soon.
Toni Genovese, LCSW, CPT-NASM, CPC
Strong at the Core LLC
Health & Wellness Coaching