Just one km more
There are days where running is easy. No matter what my training schedule requires I am willing to follow the program.
Then there are the days, where I know I should run but I just don’t feel like it. Actually, it’s not that I don’t feel like running, instead it’s a lack of enthusiasm to run a 14 km session for instance.
Busy with my, “I don’t want to run but I know I have to so I’ll be prepared for Oceans” thoughts I head out of the door and start my run. On occasion my mood improves during the run and I don’t pay attention to my de-motivating thoughts. However, sometimes the run just really feels like hard work.
Do you know this feeling? How do you handle this?
As I write this post I realise that this feeling mostly happens during runs between 12 and 18 km. When its sessions of more than 20 km and especially if I have planned a 35 to 40 km run I never have those thoughts. I find that interesting but that’s a subject for another blog post.
Let’s say the plan is to run 14 km, well some minutes into the run a nagging little inner voice begins to whisper to me. ‘Maybe just run 10 km today, I mean you did so much last week and you can always add some distance next time’.
This can be pretty tempting especially because the voice is loudest when I am least keen on going running.
Fortunately there is also another voice. Yes, I hear lots of voices. This is a voice telling me that there is no good reason to not run the 14 km. ‘You aren’t injured or in a rush so just do the run as planned.’
While these two voices have their battle I am already through the first 4 km of the run. My usual training runs see me run out and back routes towards places like Hout Bay or the Waterfront. The 4 km mark means I am closing in on half way and the point at which I need to decide; do I go the whole way or cut this short?
What would you do? Turn around and tell yourself that you will make the distance up later?
I know one thing for sure, if I cut the session short I would be extremely dissatisfied after the run. I would probably actually consider the session incomplete.
Running should be satisfying though. This obviously means when you aren’t nursing an injury or snowed under by work or family commitments.
I have learned a little mental trick that I use for days like this.
When I get closer to the turnaround point for the shortened run, I don’t pay attention to the negative thoughts regarding the total distance.
Instead, I tell myself that it’s just one more km. Only one. I can definitely run one more kilometre and then we can see how it goes. This makes all the difference as instead of turning at 5 km I run to 6 km and have crossed the mental barrier.
It is after 6km that I then tell myself that I just need to add one more kilometre and so I keep on running.
When I turn around eventually I am all smiles. I know I have tricked myself and have covered the intended distance. Those of you who know me, see me smiling all the time. The smiles I am talking about here are internal, smiles of pride and accomplishment.
So, next time you don’t feel like running the intended distance just tell yourself that you can definitely cover one more kilometre and then keep on going.
Mohammed Ali once was asked how many sit-ups he could do. He replied by saying, “I don’t know. I only start counting when it starts to hurt.”
Now stop reading the blog and enjoy your next run. Don’t forget to say hi next time you see me out on the roads and trails and if you want to know more about my running, please visit my blog http://www.ultra-marathon-man.com/en/.