The Reality of a Runner
As a runner there are a lot of false preconceptions surrounding the sport. A lot of people think to be a good runner all you have to do is run. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It also isn’t always great. We don’t go into every run excited just because we love to run. As much as we do love it, it is hard at times, and you have to have a lot of positivity and strength to keep going when it gets tough.
MYTH: All you have to do is run.
REALITY: This is what a lot of people quite frequently say. ‘I could be a good runner, all you have to do is run, it’s simple’. If only it was that simple. Running is the easy part, but there is a lot more that goes with it. Being a runner involves a lot more than just running. There are hours spent in the gym, recovering properly, fueling right, stretching and rolling, getting a sufficient amount of sleep, and most importantly, having the right mindset and mental strength to push yourself to your full potential. It is these elements that make up all the extra 1%’s, that will one day add up to a lot! It also takes a lot of dedication and will power. It is important to stay focused on your goals and not let anybody else make you question them, because if you have enough self-belief, you never know what you may be able to achieve.
MYTH: Every run is great.
REALITY: It would be nice if this was the case, but it just isn’t possible. I can definitely vouch for this, even now. I had a solo session on the weekend which I went into feeling tired, as I’d had our university sports ball the night before. I knew I wasn’t going to achieve the times I wanted to, but I was so harsh on myself afterwards for not having smashed the session. My boyfriend said to me, ‘Not every session can be a good one, otherwise they’d all just be average. You have to have the tougher sessions in order to appreciate the great ones.’ Once he’d said that, I realised he was right (I don’t often say that!), it’s the tough ones that make the good ones even better. No one always has amazing sessions. It is however, important to see every run in a constructive way. Whether it has gone well or badly, there is always a lesson to learn. I can be very harsh on myself, focusing on what went wrong, rather than the positives I can take away from it. It is tough, but try and see the positives, as there are always some!
MYTH: Running is easy on the brain.
REALITY: This is another huge misconception. In my eyes, running is 90% mental and 10% physical. Doing the right amount of training, the correct sessions, and just getting out there, is the easy bit. The tough bit is the mental side of it. Running requires you to push your body beyond its limits, and to believe in yourself. If you ever doubt yourself, or aren’t confident in your own ability, your performance will suffer. In a recent race of mine, I felt exactly this. Whilst I do feel I have a lot of mental strength as a result of a tough few years and I am able to get through the hard times, I felt my brain telling me I was more tired than I was. I was convinced I didn’t have more in me. However, when I got to the last 800m, I realised I had a lot more left than I should’ve done. The hard part is having the strength to tell yourself you can do it, you can run faster than you think, and you need to trust this. In the end it all comes down to experience. You have to test your limits and either push too hard too soon, or not give it enough. We have to make these mistakes in order to find out where our limits lie.
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!