I’m convinced that running is at least 90% mental. I have been fairly consistent with running for almost a year now (huge for me, by the way) and my body is in pretty good shape. I am training for a half marathon next month. I run shorter distances during the week (3-6 miles) and then on Saturdays I do a long run. This week I am up to 11 miles for Saturday’s long run. It’s exciting to know that my body is being pushed, and I prove to myself week after week that I can, in fact, go the distance. So, I say all of this to say, I know my body has the strength and the ability to run. My problem is the constant battle I have with my mind.
There are some days where I am literally arguing with myself (not out loud) about whether to keep running or to stop and walk. In the past when I ran with another person, when the other one gets down, then we hold each other up and it’s easier to make it over the humps. But when it’s just me, my backwards logic seems to make such good sense. “You’re going to run tomorrow, so why burn yourself out today?” “Yesterday you did such a good job. Why not give yourself a break today?” “You’ll make up for it on your long run, Saturday.” Sounds pretty legit, huh? And therein lies the problem. If I don’t push myself during the week on the short runs, then I won’t have the stamina for the long runs on the weekend. If I continually lose the willpower argument in my mind, then I’m hurting myself as I’m trying to get stronger.
In the past, I’ve had a hard time with consistency; especially regarding exercise. I’m good for a about 3-5 weeks and then I begin finding reasons not to do it, or I get lazy, or I plan other things in that time slot. Usually after enough times of missing the exercise activity I just quit and chalk it up to life’s craziness.
I still fight that same battle with running every 3-5 weeks. I will have a bad run or wake up feeling poorly and every time I have a decision to make: do I suck it up and move on or do I throw away all this hard work? I’m currently in one of those week’s where it would be really easy for me to quit. I’m tired, have had a few bad runs, I have ZERO motivation, and ZERO willpower. So what do I do when I’m at a place like this? I have to mentally fight my old habits and patterns. I have to consciously decide what I want and decide that no matter what, I’m going to pursue it. I have given myself tons of pep-talks and I keep reminding myself of the goal: to run the half marathon next month.
As I’m writing this, it’s starting to sound a lot like my walk with Christ. If I have a bad run or wake up feeling poorly do I move ahead anyway or do I throw away all this hard work and progress God and I are making? Just because I’m tired, do I neglect his word or to pray for others? Just because it’s hard, do I stop battling sin in my life? Do I give into old habits and temptations just because it’s easy and the other way is hard? No. No. and No. I keep the goal in sight: to run the race, to fight the good fight, to honor Jesus on earth and one day live with him in eternity. I can’t stop because the training is hard. I have to keep going. Just like running in a race, running the race for Christ is a mental battle as well. We can easily make excuses, believe lies, and talk ourselves into and out of a lot of things. We just have to remember that while living this life accounts for a lot, we have to mentally fight ourselves in order to keep our heads in the game.
What battles are you fighting with yourself? Are you believing Satan’s lies? Are you justifying sin? Are your excuses taking the forefront of all your decisions? Ask God to help you recognize which thoughts are holding you hostage and start battling them. Don’t give in! And don’t give up!