Most people underestimate the mental game of running. Of course there is a science to the sport. You have to train certain ways to obtain desired outcomes. The toll our mind takes is just as hard as the toll our legs take pounding the pavement. There are times we literally have to take our heads out of the game. I am a huge advocate for mental toughness in this sport. Visualizing and truly believing in your goals in very important. However there are times when runners push their minds so hard they can become over trained mentally.
From my own experiences there are times when I have had to step back and just look at what it is that I wanted? I don’t want to admit it, but I will. When my injury streak came, in a way I was thankful. I was exhausted from training at such a high level. It is hard working and focusing so much and never seeing the desired results. When doctors told me that I should find another passion part of me wanted to take their words but deep deep down buried underneath it all. I could not accept giving up. I had doctors tell me I did not have the ideal body type for running, hence all my stress fractures. I have heard it all. For 5 years I fought with myself trying to decide if I really loved the sport or if I just wanted it because everyone else wanted me to run. Any time I tried to get away from the sport I found myself right back to it. I realized that I did LOVE running. I was and still am willing to do whatever it takes to run. It took me 5 years to refocus and find my true passion, but I found it.
It is ok to step back and figure out if all the pain and heartache is worth it. Failing is inevitable. You will fail, not only once, but time and time again. Then the one time it all clicks, you will realize those failures were worth it. You have to find your roots. What is it that is holding you to the sport? Why do you want to be out there every day? Why do you love running? Or DO YOU REALLY EVEN LOVE IT?
One of the best sprinters of all time once stated, “the medals don’t mean anything and the glory doesn’t last. It’s all about your happiness. The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing. (Jackie Joyner- Kersee)
Take each failure and disappointment with a grain of salt. You are not a failure. You may just have to refocus your mind and figure out if you really love what you are doing.
Get out of your head and enjoy the ride!