Recently, I found myself on an evening drive home having an internal conversation about whether or not I should go for a run. I usually get my runs in in the morning, but every so often I hit the snooze and tell myself, I’ll run after I get home from work. More often than I’d like to admit, the afternoon has rolled around and I found myself making an excuse as to why I could not go for a run as planned, ultimately resulting in a skipped workout. I don’t like to admit to this type of behavior, but I’m human and inherently not perfect. This drive home in particular, I hit the brakes (figuratively) on this type of thinking and discovered that my list of excuses wasn’t all that great to begin with.
Throughout my conversation, I was mentally giving myself a reason to justify not running, then immediately firing back with a counter argument for why I absolutely could, and more importantly, should go for a run.
- Point: It’s too cold
- Counterpoint: you have a ton of winter running gear
- Point: I’m too tired
- Counterpoint: you have a plethora of RunGum that you know will give you the energy boost you need to get out the door
- Point: It’s too dark out already
- Counterpoint: you have a headlamp and usually run in the morning, WHEN IT’S DARK
- Point: I don’t feel like it
- Counterpoint: you probably won’t feel like it at the end of your upcoming 50k either, so are you just going to quit when it get’s tough?
- Point: I don’t have time to run tonight. I’m too busy.
- Counterpoint: Really? You don’t have half an hour to spare? You’re right, watching that episode of Parks and Rec on Netflix is probably more important than sticking to your training plan.
This entire conversation happened in the span of about 15 minutes. So what did I do when I got home? I threw on some warmer running clothes, grabbed my headlamp, popped a piece of RunGum and got out the door. My list of excuses didn’t hold much ground at the end of the day.
We can always find a reason not to get out the door. For a fleeting moment, we can justify it to ourselves why we should just stay inside. That brief moment is all it takes to make or break our carefully laid out plans. Mental training is just as important as physical training. Mental victories come in the form of fighting back those voices saying, “you can’t run today” or “you don’t need to run today.” As these small mental victories accumulate, they build off of one another and before you know it you have a newfound sense of motivation and dedication driving you towards the path to success. A strong mental foundation begins with a single triumphant moment. The next time you find yourself in a struggle to find that motivation to get out the door, ask yourself, “what’s my excuse?” I bet you don’t have a good one.