“Why not pick another goal?”
“If you add something what are you going to subtract?”
“What difference does it make?”
“Why not think of yourself as an athlete who runs?”
“Why do you still go there?”
These are all questions asked of me over the last year.
There is sometimes danger in giving me too much to think about. My first tendency is to play defense and argue my case. And then I usually talk it out and realize there is always more to the question than what is being asked. Each of these questions has caused me to stop, think and learn.
This week I had a meltdown on Monday as I’m trying to get my mind and body prepared to train for my first 25K trail race. It has been about 12 weeks since I have run consistently and been in training for any race. I am not sure what I was expecting, but I reacted pretty negatively to the first week of pre-training. My coach set everything straight on Wednesday, but posed the question about me thinking of myself as a runner; not in a negative way, but in a, you are putting too much pressure on yourself you should just be running because you want to, not only because you have a training plan with runs built in that will make you a stronger athlete kind of way.
At least that was my take on it. It made me think. Last night I went back to Jeff Brown’s book, The Runner’s Brain, and the importance of identity:
“Before you build the confidence to respond with a “heck yeah I’m a runner,” your RAS needs to believe. And it needs to send a message to the rest of your brain that it, too, should believe. Your job is to throw the RAS as much and as many different types of information you can about your being a runner. This is how you can strengthen your identity as a runner.”
Excerpt From: Jeff Brown. “Runner’s World The Runner’s Brain.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/LH3h7.l
In preparing for my 2016 racing season, I NEED more confidence; I need to strengthen my identity as a runner. Right now, probably because it has been so long since I have raced and trained, I feel like a bit of a fraud. When my friends and co-workers ask me for advice on running and training I feel like saying, “Well, I am not really training for anything right now,” or, “I was running quite a bit, but not so much right now.”
“Negative thoughts undermine the belief system, while positive ones reinforce it. So if you are able to strengthen your beliefs by filling up the RAS with constructive, confidence-building experiences and information, you start to feel and act the part of a runner.”
“The greater the number of reinforcing episodes, the more powerful these beliefs become. And by the way, the RAS can only hold so much information, so that’s why you want to deliberately send “I’m a runner!” messages to it over a lengthy period of time.
Now, if you have doubts or feel you don’t deserve to call yourself a runner, you’ll look for all sorts of evidence to support that idea: You’re too slow; your body isn’t the right shape; you don’t run enough. Your RAS can be tempted to accept all of these thoughts as irrefutable proof you’re not worthy to call yourself a runner. ”
Excerpt From: Jeff Brown. “Runner’s World The Runner’s Brain.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/LH3h7.
So I need to think of myself as a runner. I need to do runner things, wear runner clothes, and talk running. I need to fill my RAS with positive running experiences. I need.to.run.
“The more you run, the more you will think like a runner. The more you think like a runner, the more you will believe you are a runner and the more you’ll run. It makes perfect sense.”
Right now I just need to get out there and run to find that runner identity that went into a bit of winter hibernation. I am a runner. I am athletic and I love sports and coaching and being outside and I love to try new things. I love to push myself and practice and I love the journey. But right now, at this point in my life, I am a runner.