I'm linking up with Erika for TOTR!
I feel like I've been pretty lucky in not facing a lot of judgment about my running. I know some runners have to deal with naysayers a lot, but my family, friends, and running groups are overwhelmingly positive.
|See? How can you beat support like this?!|
Still, you hear the negative chatter once in awhile. More often than not, it comes from our own heads. As I've been mulling over last week's post
about getting used to running short again, I was able to pinpoint why returning to shorter distances - even though I'm excited for them and am so ready for a break from marathons - has been hard to wrap my head around.
Real runners run long.
It's not true, but we've all heard it, or something like it. I thought I'd squashed this kind of negative thinking, but I guess it was just hibernating, waiting to wake when it detected the slightest hint of uncertainty.
The unsettling feeling I had last week about running shorter was me feeling like I was regressing by stopping marathons for awhile. I know logically that I'm not, but even if I were,
I don't have to prove myself to anybody. I've run three marathons and I'm ready to take a break.
I have reasons for stepping back - I know I'm less scared to push my limits if the distance is lower, and once I've built some confidence I'll be able to translate that speed into longer distances - but that negative voice is there.
Overcoming that voice may be the hardest part of running.
I haven't heard my personal negative voice in awhile, and hearing it means I'm doing something new and scary, so in a way it's a good voice to hear. But now I need to push it aside, trust my gut, trust my plan, and keep moving.
|See? Feeling positive and ready to go now that I've got all that figured out!|
And really, now that I've figured out why
I felt a little weird last week, I'm feeling much better about everything! I guess that's what happens when we confront our negative feelings head-on.
What does your negative voice say?
What do you think is the hardest part of running?
I think the most negative thoughts runners have is that we aren't REAL runners unless we run certain types of races, cover a certain number of miles during the week, or run a certain pace. Obviously, all not true, and when we step back and look at it logically, we KNOW that. I mean, I haven't run a marathon since 2014. I'm still a real runner, right!? :)ReplyDelete
Seriously! It does make me feel a little better knowing that runners I consider more experienced and talented than I am - like you - face that same kind of doubtful thoughts.Delete
"Real runners run long." So funny that you have this in here. I am going to call you out on this - you're wrong! A real runner is someone who runs. It doesn't matter how fast or how far (I know, that's a cheesy quote but it's so true). Yesterday, I was talking to the owner of the pole studio. She was a sprinter. She still runs, but we have very different ideas on what a workout is for each of us. She's good with 20-30 min of running, and her track workouts are 100s. I'm an 8-10 mile girl and do mile repeats. But that doesn't make either of us more or less of a runner! Different things work differently for different people. It doesn't matter. You run, you are a runner. And a good one!!! But, negative thoughts - yep. I've had some over the past week. I think it's all part of the ebb and flow of running, and it's how you handle them that's most important. When I have a bad day or feel like less of a runner, I remind myself that I am fortunate to run at all :) You are doing great!ReplyDelete
Even though my mind sometimes tells me "real runners run long", the only person I seem to apply that to is myself! I would never tell another runner they're not "real" because of pace, distance, etc. I think everyone counts as a real runner!Delete
But we're our own worst critics, and sometimes we have to face that negative voice and confront it, acknowledge it, to be able to move on.
Personally I don't struggle with distance as it pertains to running but I do with triathlon. Real triathletes do HIMs and IMs. Total bunk, I know. I think it's the inner critics way of minimizing what we do.ReplyDelete
Exactly! It's hard for us to shut down our inner critics; we'd never believe those voices when directed at others, but it's so easy to believe them when we're thinking it about ourselves!Delete
These thoughts you have about "real runners run long" obviously aren't true, but I think we can all understand where they come from. Not just in running, but we live in a society at large that implicitly subscribes to the idea that more is better. Some things are just really hard to internalize - be patient with yourself and your thoughts. We are always harder on ourselves than we are on others.ReplyDelete
I remember reading an article by pro runner Lauren Fleshman, when she talks about being on a plane after a competition and telling the guy next to her she just ran a 5K and, obviously not knowing who she was, he made some patronizing comment like "that's a good start, keep working and you can get up to a marathon one day!" or something. It's everywhere. People who don't run long face judgement, and people who don't run fast face judgment. The only way you can be immune is to just be perfect at everything, I guess.
This. I was going to reference this article too.Delete
As someone who just ran her first (and only) half marathon last year, I've struggled with the question of whether or not I was a "real runner." But as my husband reminded me, would anyone tell Usain Bolt he's not a "real runner"? I certainly hope not! :)
Oh, such a good point Hanna! It's not just in running - we live in the nation of super sizing everything! Quantity over quality! Bigger is better! No wonder it's hard to shake this negative voice. It's everywhere!Delete
That Lauren Fleshman article was a good one. It made me so angry on her behalf! But if she can love the 5k, so can I!
I struggle with distance. The shorter the distance the more negative my head is. I would much rather run long and slower than short and fast. Fast hurts! haha! I am more apt to have a poor mental performance during a 5k than a half. But trusting my training is hard once I am at the starting line every. single. time.ReplyDelete
It seems like most of the comments today are that many runners kind of fear short distance because of the pain! But to me, the pain is over so much faster when it's a 5k, so it's less scary!Delete
But I definitely understand the difficulty in trusting training at the start line!
It doesn't matter how long or short your runs are or how fast or slow you are. We are all runners. I thk we are our own biggest critique. Just be happy with what you can do and not compare yourself to others.ReplyDelete
We are definitely all our own biggest critic. I don't ever criticize others, but I can't stop criticizing myself!Delete
My head is a mess. You name it, I doubt it. So... yeah. lol It's a constant struggle here, but I've been lucky to have some iron clad supporters who helped me get to the start (and finish!) of some great races.ReplyDelete
Having outside support is truly invaluable if you're struggling with self-debt!Delete
We're definitely all runners. But I do know how EASY it is to add "just" in front of my miles. Oh, I JUST ran 3 miles today. Oh I JUST did this, or that. I need to remember the fact that I am dragging my butt out of bed & running is way more than most people ever do. So 3 miles or 30. I'm a runner & I'm impressive.ReplyDelete
YES, exactly! Adding "just" is something I never thought I'd do, and now when I do it I feel weirdly guilty and weird about it!Delete
You're right: we're runners and we're all impressive.
We all have negative thoughts, for sure. And there's nothing "non-runner" about shorter distances! If anything they're much harder because you push yourself really hard, really fast.ReplyDelete
Short distances definitely have their own merit. I wouldn't say they feel harder, but I think I can understand that there are different types of "hard" when it comes to running, and all are a challenge worth conquering!Delete
A while back there was a RW article my Lauren Fleschman on 5Ks. She was on a flight and struck up a conversation with the man beside her, who had just run a marathon. He asked if she ran and she said yes, 5Ks. He gave her a pitying look and said "We all have to start somewhere." The article did a great job of showing how ridiculous that attitude is! I personally have a huge respect for shorter distances because I find them so much tougher!ReplyDelete
I remember this! That was a great article. Thanks for bringing it up - it's definitely reminding me that there's merit in short races!Delete
I'm old enough to not care what other people think about my running and have thoroughly enjoyed being able to run to finish. It's liberating and makes my hobby lots of fun instead of stressful. I admire people who push themselves to reach whatever their goals are (whether that's running further or faster), but for me, it's about consistency and enjoying my time on the road. Happy running!ReplyDelete
Consistency is a big key word for me this year. It's one reason I'm going back to shorter distances - it's easier to stay steady and not burnout when training for them! I'm glad your running is liberating and fun for you!Delete
I love your updated header! Did you get that email from MarathonFoto today offering 3 downloads for the price of 1 for A1A? I wish I hadn't already bought the only two photos I want at full price! Grr!ReplyDelete
I think it's easy to fall into thinking "real runners run long" because so many run bloggers are distance runners. We're always reading about people doing long runs and training for halves and full marathons, but I am in awe of runners who specialize in short distances. 5Ks and 10Ks intimidate me so much more than long runs!
Ha, I like that you noticed the header. I almost deleted my blog while updating it! I actually have a post to publish tomorrow AM about it. It's embarrassing how bad I am at the technical part of blogging.Delete
I think the pattern I'm seeing is that many runners almost seem to fear the 5k and 10k! I guess maybe that's why we all aim for long distance!
I've had to really turn negative thinking into positive- as I've tried to get faster I have found myself thinking that my paces aren't good enough or that I'll never hit my targets at certain distances. So I started this thing where I write down all the negative thoughts I'm having and then turn them into a positive thought. It's really been helping me get rid of the head trash!ReplyDelete
Wow, that's interesting! I'm not sure how I'd turn negative thoughts into positive ones, but I do see the positive in this particular voice. If it's speaking up, it means I'm challenging myself, and that's a good thing!Delete
It's so great you have the support of family/friends! I have felt the, "You're not a real runner unless you run sub 8 min./mile pace" before. Nobody actually said it, but when I was with a running club it was just the vibe I got from several of the runners. Of course that is so not true, but it did get in my head a little. Side note, good for you taking a break from marathons! I honestly don't think I will run another one after the one I'm doing this fall. No shame in that :).ReplyDelete
Yes, it's more a vibe than anything people would dare SAY to us! It does start to get into our head and make us doubt a little...Delete
I can't wait to see how your marathon goes. So many people say "one and done" but it's hard not to want to jump back in and see what else you can do!
I guess I'm a "real runner" because I love the marathon, but you know what I hate? I hate the 5K. So. Much. Pain. I'm sure I think several times a week how happy I am that I am not training for a 5K and how much it would hurt if I ever decided I wanted to. I wish that "real runner" business would go away. I think we mostly do it to ourselves, but why? Where does it come from? I wish I knew!ReplyDelete
I think I need to be running my 5ks faster, because it's clear so many runners hate them because they hurt, and mine hurt but...not that badly!Delete
I guess we must internalize the competition we see at races and on tv etc and it just makes us feel like we're not elite enough. But the elite few are few for a reason!
I struggle a lot with not running faster (set aside my blog page title for a sec) because I really want to just be a little faster. Sometimes it seems like no matter how well training is going an injury or set back happens and I'm back to square one :( That's when the negative voices then to get louder and I fill my thoughts with "You'll never get faster" or "You'll never do better". It's a constant struggle to stay motivated in the midst of thoughts like that :(ReplyDelete
Sometimes our mind's desire and our body's ability just don't match up! I can't run more than 25 miles a week (usually) or I risk injury. Some runners can do like 60 or 70 and I am just amazed by that! It's the same with running faster, I think. Pushing too hard can lead to injury and then you have to start over! I feel you - it's really disappointing and frustrating.Delete