The body or the mind. Which is running the show when you run?
This post isn’t just about running, but it hit me while running. And it’s hit me before while on a mountain. It’s really for anyone doing something you either feel like you can’t do, or think you can’t do. Or don’t want to keep doing. As I was thinking about writing this, I saw a great tip in my daily Runner’s World calendar that hit the nail on the head:
The words are simple, but the meaning is very deep. For many challenges we face, we may be far more capable of conquering them than we think or than we feel physically. What I’ve come to learn is that often, my body is more than capable of tackling what I ask of it. But my mind is doubtful. I get anxious before every run and often question whether I can keep it up during many runs, and yet I’ve never had to bag a run because I couldn’t finish. Sure, I’ve had to scratch a race or put a run off a day or two due to injury, but I mean more that I have the ability to go out but think I can’t actually live up to the task.
For some people, the equation is flipped. Mentally, they are 100% there. But there is a physical barrier holding them back – perhaps being tired from a bad night’s sleep, allergies, a headache, etc. But they have set their mind to a goal and push through those barriers to achieve the goal regardless of what physical restrictions or inabilities they faced.
Now, you have to be mindful of injury and whether your doubts are actually rational and protecting you from something. But in general, we are far more capable beings than our bodies or our minds often give us credit for.
So, what does this mean in practice? It means that you need to look within yourself to understand if physical limitations are holding you back, or if mental limitations are doing it. If physical, what mindset can you adopt to help you through it? If mental, what tools can you employ to silence your mind or let your physical capability out-reason your anxiety (for example, I workout very early in the morning, before I’ve had the chance to wake up enough to argue with myself about it)?
Undestand if a part of your equation is unfairly keeping you from achieving. Learn about yourself and how to overcome your self-imposed constraints, and go for your goals. Achieving is how you enlighten.your.body.