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Are You Limiting Yourself?

Jun 24, 2022

Are you limiting yourself without even realizing it? 


Believe it or not, most of us have a tendency to limit ourselves. In running, this can lead to frustration, lack of progress, and loss of motivation, with a seemingly unknown cause. 


As runners, we like numbers.  While numbers can be great in helping us achieve our goals, they can actually hold us back as well.  


Have you ever noticed that most runners have a round number as a goal?  And why did they choose that number?  If you think about it, it is likely arbitrary.  We choose a number as a goal maybe based on what we have done in the past, what others around us are doing, or what we think is “realistic”.   


This can actually limit us unconsciously because we decide ahead of time what we think we are capable of.  Have you ever noticed that if you are close to that number, you may feel more motivated to get there, whereas, the farther away we are from our goal, the motivation seems less?


We may say that the number on the clock doesn't matter, but in reality, we often attach a meaning to it.  We can even use it to label ourselves, as slow, fast, good, or bad runners. This is risky because the number we choose is relative. The meaning can change depending on your circumstances.  If you’re surrounded by runners that run an average pace of 8 minutes and you run at a 9 minute pace, you might be inclined to think of yourself as slow.  However, if you are in a group of runners that typically run 10 min pace, you might think you are fast.  The meaning that we attach to the number is relative to many factors.


Numbers are not good or bad.  We just need to be mindful of the meaning we assign to them. Remember, you are the one that gets to decide that meaning.  You can choose which numbers are important to you, what they mean to you, and how significant they are. Rather than allowing these numbers to either consciously or unconsciously drive you and determine what you think you're capable of, we recommend that you decide what kind of runner you want to be, what numbers are important to you, and then make a plan from there. 


YOU get to choose what is possible for you. You are not required to base it on your previous results. You don't have to base it on an arbitrary number that someone suggested. It doesn't have to be based on anything other than what you want to believe is possible.


So, what is your number? Is there a specific distance you want to cover? Is there a specific time you're attempting to meet? What are your thoughts on this number? Are those helpful thoughts that you broaden your capabilities, or do you have negative thoughts that might make it more difficult for you to break through and achieve new goals because you believe you lack the necessary skills and capabilities?


Running is a great way to challenge and push ourselves. You can choose what is possible for you once you open yourself up to new possibilities and understanding. It can open up entirely new worlds of possibilities for what running can be in your life.


Now get out there and run your life.


For more on this, check out episode 257 of the Real Life Runners podcast! 

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