I used to be convinced that I would never be a runner. I even had all the standard excuses ready for why that was the case. I don’t have a “runner’s body.” My lung capacity is too small. It rains too much where I live. You name it, I repeated it to myself: I’m not a runner, never will be. Until one day, when all the ellipticals at my gym were full and I got on the treadmill and ran my first mile. Ever. Because I wanted to.Which is when I realized that achieving a milestone run–whether it be your first mile or your first marathon–isn’t about your body, it’s about your mindset. And you control that.
Now, a few years later, I run pretty regularly. But there are still days when I set out in the wrong mood, with the wrong attitude–and, as a result, I usually don’t make it to my ultimate goal. But it’s not because I can’t; I’ve done it before, so it’s clearly possible. It’s because I’m not in the right headspace to do it right. I haven’t set myself up for success.
Psyching yourself up for a run may seem a little silly, but getting in the mental zone can be the difference between perceived exhaustion and a personal best. If you start out assuming you can’t, you’ve already lost the battle. But it’s not just about shutting down negative thinking–simple steps can help you feel confident and ready to reach a faster time, a longer distance, or just a new level of pride in your performance.
Here are some of the ways I like to prepare myself for my best runs. And, as always, feel free to add you own in the comments.
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