Saturday, February 5, 2011

Psyching Up Vs. Psyching Out

Last night's weather forecast said the Cincinnati area could have 1-3 inches of snow by the morning.  As I drifted off to sleep at 9:30 p.m. (yeah, that's marathon season, folks) with a belly full of pasta, I couldn't care less what the meteorologist was saying, I was going to be running at 7 a.m.

I woke up hearing sleet pelting against my window. "Beautiful day for a run!" I quipped, as I happily got dressed to take on the 10.2 hilly miles that were on the schedule for today.  I walked outside and inspected the pavement on my driveway.  Sleet, ice, freezing rain... well, at least it's not snowing yet--score!  Across town, my friend, "Runner X" (the guilty party shall remain nameless) was telling herself (and texting me) that she didn't have a running jacket for this weather.  She also decided that her blisters would be so much worse once her feet got wet.  Besides, she could just run on the treadmill.  She wasn't going outside, and that was that.

Any experienced runner will tell you that he or she has been on both sides of this equation too many times to count.  Some days, you are wildly determined, ready to attack your run as if those 10 miles were your eighth grade bully.  Nothing will stop you from your goal. And on other days, you become an Excuse Artist, finely crafting and honing reason after reason as to why you just CANNOT go out there.  And most of the time, as Friend X did this morning, you end up regretting being an Excuse Artist... "I shoulda just gone out and done it," Friend X later admitted. 

My advice to all of you runners and would-be runners out there is to really be cognizant of when you are psyching yourself up for running and when you are psyching yourself out of it.  If you recongize what you are doing when you're doing it, sometimes you can stop yourself from turning into an Excuse Artist.  And this reaches beyond running.  In any fitness goal, or really any goal in life, think about the things that are holding you back.  Are they actual, valid reasons or are they excuses?  Are you psyching yourself up, or are you psyching yourself out?

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