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Running is Not Punishment

mindset mindset and motivation running Jul 06, 2022

Do you think of running as punishment? 

If you’re like a lot of runners you might think that running is a form of punishment and misery. This kind of thinking leads to always not feeling good enough in some way, or feeling like there is something to prove which can lead to a lack of motivation and satisfaction with running, as well as a lack of progress.

This idea makes a lot of sense though.  For many people that were involved in team sports in high school, running may have been used as a form of punishment for making a mistake or not trying hard enough in practice. Think about the unconscious message that comes along with that.  Without even realizing it, you may be carrying that subconscious programming with you into your running today, thinking that running needs to be hard, or running should feel miserable.  

Many people also use running as punishment for something that they ate.  If you’ve ever felt like you need to run to burn off calories, you fall into this group.  Think about it: if running is a way to burn off calories, it can lead to pushing harder in order to burn more calories, which leads to never actually running easy enough.  That is a path to fatigue, burnout, and injury.

Many people start running because they don't like their body and want to change it, but is this really the best way?  

A lot of times, it can be successful in the beginning but it is often temporary.  We start running, we get into a new habit, we start to lose weight, and we start to see changes. But does it last? 

Doing things because you don't like your current situation is not the most effective long-term solution to effective change. Punishing ourselves for something we ate is not a long term solution.  Pushing hard all of the time is not a long term solution.

The long term solution is to run from a place of love and desire for self-growth. Running helps us to grow into more of ourselves by challenging us and showing us our strengths and weaknesses.  Our areas that we can continue to grow and evolve.  

So instead of using running as punishment, use it as a path for continued growth.

Now get out there and run your life.

For more on this, check out episode 260 of the Real Life Runners podcast!

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