How to go from thinking you’re not a runner to Wow, I’m a Runner!
I have to tell you I was one of those people who thought I AM NOT A RUNNER! Ya, I could probably have run a 100-yard dash, try to catch my breath at the end and then be totally sore the next day!! I never even entertained jogging, running a race or even imagined running a marathon but that’s exactly what I did do and I’m going to tell you how you too can take yourself from thinking I’m not a runner to actually getting out of your head, off the coach and your feet on the pavement, trails or track!
So you might ask me why I starting running, especially when I didn’t think I was a runner and had no real thoughts or desire of becoming one. In my desperation to find connection (after a failed marriage), friendships, add to my love of the outdoors and my love of cycling (since I was 5 years old), I found myself motivated to search out cycling clubs where I hoped to find all of those things to help dig me out of my rut. I found a cycling club, the only thing I didn’t know was, it wasn’t just a cycling club, it was a triathlon club! Oops! So guess what triathletes do after a bike ride? They run a brick and for those who don’t know what a brick is (I certainly didn’t know), it’s a run right after you get done with your bike ride!
During my first year of riding with the club, some of the “triathletes” asked me to join then for a “brick”. Guess what my answer was? You got it, “NO, I’M NOT A RUNNER”!!
So what changed? I had many thoughts running through my mind that summer riding my bike. Why would I want to run? I knew nothing about running, what if I couldn’t do it? I didn’t know it at the time but what was stopping me was me. My own internal thoughts were stopping me plus some external factors like physical endurance and strength. What stops you from taking the first step? Is it lack of fitness, weight issues, worried about how you look out in public or you don’t think you are a runner? All these factors are blocking you from actually getting out there and taking action and they can cripple you in all areas of your life.
I’ve listed below 3 Internal Blocks I believe will help you get your foot out the door and run! You can even apply these to other areas of your life to help you shift view which could help create a conscious choice over your life and circumstances.
1. Limited Beliefs – Something you accept about life, about yourself, about your world, or about the people in it, that limits you in some way.
I remember my friend Lisa asking me to race a triathlon and I said I can’t do that and she asked why. I said because, “I’M NOT A RUNNER”. Her reply was very passionate and firm. She said, “You don’t have to be a runner, you can walk”! My jaw dropped open and my thoughts turned to questions searching for the validity in her answer that you don’t have to run, you can walk if you have to!
You see in my mind, I had a BELIEF as to what a runner was. I believed a runner had to run, run hard, breath easily, run long, enjoy every footstep and make it look like they loved it! In believing this as the truth for me it was limiting me in my capacity to actually “try” running. It changed my whole view of running in that moment!
2. Inner Critic – That voice inside your head that tells you, in one way or another, that you’re not good enough!
For me, my voice inside my head was constantly telling me I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or fast enough! When my limited belief was shattered, I had to face my inner critic who was saying very loudly, “You will never be able to run, you’re not good enough”, “look, you’ve never run, so what makes you think you can”, “you don’t want anyone to see you because they know you’re not a real runner”. When I realized I could walk during a run, I couldn’t hide anymore behind the veil of not being a runner, I had the choice to “try” to run or not. But another block was holding me back, Assumptions.
3. Assumption – An expectation that, because something has happened in the past, it will happen again.
At age 16 when I tried out for the boys track team (they didn’t have a girls’ team), I thought I was a runner. The very first practice run was a 3 mile run on the streets, not the high school track. Within the first mile I was huffing and puffing and forget about the hill, it devastated me! I remember distinctly thinking, look at how easily they are running and they just cruise up the hill, I mustn’t be a runner! There it is!! I AM NOT A RUNNER!
When I was contemplating running in my late 40’s, yes 30 years later, I assumed I wasn’t a runner because I wasn’t able to keep up with fit male athletes who had been running track for years. Sounds crazy right? But it stopped me from even trying!
Can you see where having even one of these blocks; Limited Belief, Inner Critic or Assumption stop you from running?
Once I got through my limited beliefs, stopped listening to the inner critic (this is an ongoing life struggle) and nailed my assumption I began to run! It wasn’t pretty, I was afraid at every turn and I even ran early on dark mornings so no one could see me!
I also want to give you a way to help you keep running with some key words, which I like to call the 4 “C’s”; Courage, Commitment, Compassion (self) and a Coach.
1. Courage – is the ability to do something that frightens you. Along with this is bravery which implies true courage with daring and boldness. It takes courage to do something new, look at yourself with new eyes and believe you can instead of you can’t. To get out there in plain sight of other runners, to walk sometimes, to sign up for a race, to say to yourself, I’m going to be healthy, I’m going to connect with other runners even though I’m scared, is called courage!
2. Commitment – involves dedicating yourself to something, a promise you give yourself with intention and focus. This may look like, not wanting to go for a run because you don’t feel like it, or you are afraid of being seen but you promised yourself you would do it because you wanted to not because of anyone else. It is a commitment to you, your health, your well-being and love of yourself.
3. Compassion (self) – to be kind and caring to yourself during the process. We can be way too hard on ourselves and we need to love ourselves first. When you first start running, your inner critic may take over. This may look like; why are you doing this, you can’t run? What were you thinking, everyone knows you’re not a runner? See, you’re tired and sore, you shouldn’t be doing this! This is where being kind and caring to yourself really quiets this inner critic. The inner critic was created to protect you when you were very young but you no longer need its help in this way. So be gentle with yourself, everything takes time. Be patient and enjoy the unfolding of your new adventure.
4. Coach – A coach is someone who supports you, champions you, creates a training plan and is knowledgeable in the sport. I hired a coach because I wanted someone to give me a plan, tell me what to do and then support me. I didn’t know the first thing about running and I also needed a routine. I struggled with disciplining myself but when a coach told me what to do, I did it! Not everyone needs a coach or wants one but you may want one once you get the bug for running.
Hopefully this will help you get your foot out the door, hire a coach or open a new door for you in other areas of your life where you may have blocks that stop you from living the life you want for yourself!