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The Voices in My Head...and What I Say Back to Them.

Sounds kinda crazy, right?

But we're runners after all; we're bound to be a little crazy since we run far, or fast, or in circles over and over again, voluntarily, for fun.

That's a lot of time in our own heads, even with music or a podcast on.

And there's a lot of analyzing that happens before the run, during the run, after the run...

"Did I go out too fast? Did I hit that split right? Do I need to pick up the pace in this tempo run?"

Sound like you, too??

Then you're like me and you have voices in your head too!

It's not always a bad thing- self reflection is good and can help point out patterns of success ..or patterns of failure.

Unfortunately, it's the negative patterns that play the clearest and sound the loudest in our heads. Those voices like to grab the mega phone and shout it from the mental roof tops.

Until you take the mega phone away.

Yup, it can be done.

I promise.

Doesn't mean it's easy, but it can be done.

Oh, what are some of the voices in my head?

The usual.

"You're slow, always have been. Always will be."

"You'll never be able to run over 5 miles again. It's too scary."

"You're race anxiety is too bad; your body cramps too much. You'll never be able to race comfortably again..."

I know, some of them sound kinda silly. They definitely look silly now that they're written down. But I know since you have the voices too, that they sound very real, and very right in our mutual heads.

The trick is...taking away that damn megaphone.

Here's how.

You interrupt their monologue. You confront the lies. You change the story line.

Instead of failure, you have learning opportunities.

Instead of being too slow, you're learning patience and perseverance.

Instead...well, let me tell you how.

I've been running for 13 years. And during those 13 years, various health and life circumstances have taken away my ability to run. I've had to start again multiple, multiple times.

This most recent comeback though, has been my best. Maybe not physically (but I think I'm getting there), but most definitely mentally. Because I've gotten out in front of those megaphones and those lying voices.

"Practicing a new kind of gratitude..."

1. This time has been through practicing a new kind of gratitude. I always knew the benefits of practicing gratitude towards other people and God...but never myself. My own body.

I'm terrible when it comes to comparing my own progress to others. Moment of honesty: I'm quick to see how and what I'm lacking when I'm surrounded by my own riches (health, family, job, etc). So instead of succumbing to "I'm too slow; it's too hard; my body hurts again", I stop and say thank you. Thank you to my strong legs which have carried me this far; thank you to my feet for being quick and light; thank you to my body for working so hard." It's been...relieving, lightening, say these nice things to my body instead of grating on it, judging it, comparing it. It felt awkward and silly at first, but I noticed...the megaphones stopped for a moment. The loop ended. The pattern broken. So I continue to practice this gratitude, and a beautiful change has followed.

"...these Voices go along with old running beliefs..."

2. I've realized these Voices go along with old running beliefs especially the "every run has to be a hard one" or a further run or a faster run. I'm actively unlearning old habits and actively relearning new good habits, like the one above! And this takes time, and effort, but wow has it been worth it. There has been so much new joy from running, just by realizing it takes time to unlearn and relearn. And that's ok. The time is well spent and never wasted. Just like the time and effort it takes to perfect your running form when you're fatigued-not exciting, and definitely challenging, but on race takes your kick to higher, faster places!

"I'm reading. And listening to podcasts. And talking you guys!"

3. Last one. I've started educating myself more on running and the science behind it from gait mechanics, to workout planning, to cross training, you name it! I realized, physical therapy school gave me this amazing foundation of how the body works in motion, how it responds to load and movement....but I studied and worked for it.

Why not do the same for running? For something I love?

So I'm reading. And listening to podcasts. And talking with you guys!

My favorite thing I've learned so far?

The 80:20 rule.

80% of your running should be easy miles; these aren't junk miles like I previously learned.

20% of your miles should be harder, workout miles.

When I look at it that becomes so much more manageable...and it just makes sense to my physical therapy brain.

Knowledge has been power in this case. The power to not only take away the megaphones, but to turn them off.

Do the voices still pop up?

Oh, they most definitely do.

Because they're bad habits that have been there a long time and they're still being unlearned, but you know what...I'm feeling pretty darn confident now. I've got my plan, my knowledge, my power, and my joy of running back.

Maybe eventually I'll even name them so I can say something silly like "Well, that's just stupid Fred. Now go lay on the couch and eat your ben and jerry's while I kick this speed workout to the curb..."

Tell me, what are some of the voices in your head that try to hold you down? How do you beat them?

Run Smart. Run Fast. Run Strong, Fit fam,

Marie //

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