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Something to Prove

goals and plans motivation personal development running Aug 12, 2022

As runners, we love a good challenge.  


It’s likely one of the things that attracts you to running in the first place.  You want to challenge yourself, you want to improve, and you want to see what you’re really capable of doing.  


These are some of the things that make running so great, but crazy enough, they can often be some of the exact reasons we don’t end up making the progress we want.  


We all start running for different reasons.  Maybe you want to get in better shape.  Maybe you want to lose some weight.  Maybe you want to get stronger.  Maybe your friend convinced you to sign up for a race with them.


Whatever that initial reason is, somewhere along the line we get hooked.  


We realize that we actually kinda like this running thing.  We start buying new clothes and shoes.  We start reading about it. We start listening to podcasts.  We start trying to figure out how to get better.  


But when do you actually start thinking that you are a runner?  


For some people it’s just a natural progression, but other people take longer to actually start thinking of themselves as runners, as if there is some sort of qualifier that will finally help you believe that you are indeed a runner.  


You might even feel like you have something to prove first, before you can actually call yourself a runner, and this ends up leading to a few mistakes that can actually hold you back from making the progress you want.  


Here’s the more interesting part: you might not even realize you’re thinking this way, but your actions are showing that you might be trying to convince yourself or someone else that you are indeed a runner.  


Here are a couple of common signs that you might be falling into this trap: 


Race hopping or believing that you need a race on the calendar to train.  

You don’t have to race right away to call yourself a runner.  You don’t even have to ever race if you don’t want to.  One of the most common mistakes that we see is when people sign up for a race before they are ready or because they just want to check a box.  This can lead to a lot of dissatisfaction and increased injury risk because you don’t have the right foundation built up before attempting the goal.  Yes, anything is possible, but it’s smart to give yourself the right timeline to accomplish the goal and be able to enjoy the journey along the way.  Running one race will not prove that you’re a runner.  You’re a runner way before you toe the line to any race.  The training is what makes you a runner, not the end result.


Pushing harder to try to keep up with a training group.  

Running groups are fantastic, and the running community is so supportive.  But often we see people joining training groups and trying to keep up with people that have been running for much longer, which can lead to problems.  Sure, you want to be a part of the group, but if you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to the other runners and feeling bad that you aren’t yet where they are, that’s when it becomes less helpful. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. It’s great to push yourself sometimes, but if you’re doing it every time you run, it can quickly lead to overtraining, fatigue, injury, and not feeling good about YOUR running journey.  If you see this happening, maybe limit your training group runs to once or twice a week, on your harder days, and keep your easy days solo so you can listen to your body and train where you are.


Avoiding walking breaks.

Yes, you are still a runner even if you walk.  Walking breaks are a great way for you to build endurance and time on your feet without overdoing it and burning yourself out.  If you’re trying to run easier or run longer, try scheduling in some walking breaks every 3-5 minutes.  You’ll probably notice that it takes a lot of the stress out of running when you know you have a break coming up.  Taking a walking break when you don’t want to can be discouraging and frustrating, but pre-scheduling your breaks can be freeing and motivating.  Try it out and see how it goes. Just remember that avoiding walking breaks does not make you more of a runner than someone else who chooses to walk.  We’re all out there doing our best, and that’s what matters.  Even professional runners take walking breaks sometimes.


Run streaks.

Run streaks are not inherently bad, but they can sometimes get dangerous when the streak takes priority over how you’re actually feeling. Some people get so attached to the streak that they are unwilling to take a rest day, even when their body is screaming at them to rest.  Streaks can be helpful ways to start or improve your consistency, but it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your priorities when your goals change.  Remember to ask yourself, what am I trying to prove by maintaining this run streak? What is the purpose? 


Following someone else’s training plan.

You need to train in a way that is right for you, your body, your experience, and your goals.  Following someone else’s plan does not prove you are a good runner.  It’s not even a guarantee that you will get similar results.  Two people can follow the same plan and have totally different outcomes.  Training in a way that is right for you is the best path to success.


Want to learn more about this?  Join our "Free 5 Day Running Challenge" August 15-19 and stay tuned for when we open the doors to the RLR Training Academy later this month.  We will show you how to train in a way to support your body, your experience, and your goals.  Get on the waitlist today by clicking here, http://www.realliferunners.com/academy


Now get out there and run your life.

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