This piece originally started off as a rant. A rant about the things that non-runners say and the frustration that stems from these statements. My favourite non-runner quote is “I don’t know how anybody could possibly enjoy running”. Or in the winter time, when driving along and a runner is spotted getting her run in, “that girl must be crazy”. With all the hype around the Olympics this summer, more than a few times I was asked the question “So, are you going to the Olympics”, my response is, “no”. This response is then followed by a puzzled look. If I could read this person’s mind (no my mental skills don’t go that far), judging by the look on his or her face, I would guess that this person is thinking, then why are you running?
This is when I would have to stop myself from entering a cathartic rant. The rant would look something like this: Would my running be more justified if I was going to the Olympics? Can’t I dream? Why do you choose not to run and sit on the couch? Are you aware of all the benefits of being active, have you seen the video 23 and a ½ hours?? This would go downhill fast and probably end with me giving this person my running shoes and instructing them to go run for twenty minutes and then come talk to me. All jokes aside, the question “why are you running?” is a great source of frustration for me. However, to take a note from my own page, it is all about re-framing. This is when I fight my instinct to enter a rant and instead reflect on the question.
Why are you running? Are you running to avoid the anxiety that you would feel if you do not run? Or are you running with passion and purpose? There have been periods of time in my running where I have definitely been training to avoid the anxiety. In order to keep the purpose and passion in your training, it is important to think about the reasons why you run. When thinking about this question, really push your thoughts to go beyond your original idea.
Enough about comments that frustrate me. When working with athletes on mental training, my favourite comment is “Hmm, I’ve never thought about that before”. Mental training specialists can’t give athletes all the answers, but we can initiate steps to take to get to the answers. When thinking about why you run, think of the bigger picture, think about the people that inspire you, the qualities that running fosters, the lifestyle that running is a part of and that feeling of flow that you are chasing.
Don’t lose sight of the purpose behind your running and the reasons why you run. I run for my grandparents, for the challenge, for the therapy, for the friendships (Read about the Runners’ Bond) and for the fresh air. I run because I’m a runner and being a runner means we’re discipline, we work hard but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. In the background is the inspiration I grab from Clara Hughes and that feeling of being totally and utterly depleted after a race and the euphoria that comes with it.
Tweet us @runnersfeedsite and tell us why you run! Use the hashtag #iRUNbecause. The top 20 responses will be featured in an upcoming post!
About the Author: Jennifer is a student member of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association. She works one on one with athletes of all levels and is pursuing her dream career as a Performance Enhancement Consultant. Despite her 5’2” stature, she is also a closet meathead who can be found on cloud nine eating a steak post PB power clean.
Follow Jennifer: @jen_perrault