I remember a few years ago I went for my first outdoor run of the season and I felt kind of insecure. I felt so awkward until all of a sudden some random guy I ran by on State Street gave me a thumbs up and a nod of encouragement that made me feel right at home, like I was doing exactly what I should be doing and suddenly all my insecurities about being outside again just disappeared. There was something about someone else encouraging me, a stranger even, that not only made me feel better about what I was doing but made me run harder. I was suddenly motivated in a way that I was unable to do for myself.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced it but I find that I can talk to myself for hours and recite my affirmations like I do during all my athletic endeavors and don’t get me wrong, they work, but the second someone else gives me a thumbs up, a high five, a “YOU CAN DO THIS!” or any sort of positive encouragement, I suddenly feel this bolt of energy and think like “FUCK YA I CAN DO THIS!”
It happened last week during my pace run on the treadmill when a coworker came up to me and held out his fist for a fist pump. Now I had just spend the last 3.15 miles (I was going for 3.5) telling myself I can do this, I can do this and I could barely pick up my hand to fist pump back but just the act of him coming up to me and offering me that nod of encouragement made all the difference in the world. I suddenly changed my mode of thinking from “I can” to “Come on KARA, YOU got this” almost as if someone ELSE was continuing to encourage me. And it was then that my game face went on and I felt more energized than I had my entire run.
I began to ponder this idea that maybe if I pretend someone else is encouraging me in ADDITION to myself, it would have a doubly strong effect. So, during my 11 miler yesterday I decided to pretend my mom was there cheering me on. I’ve consulted with a coworker who has trained his clients for marathons but there was and is something about getting advice and encouragement from my mom that made all the difference in the world.
Truth time: I have been doubting my goal time. So after talking to my mom about a lot of things, she told me to slow down my long runs (my coworker told me to as well), use it as a time for my body to get used to running for a long time, not necessarily running goal pace (super fast 🙂 ) for a long time. She said it takes as much if not more discipline to train easier than it does to train harder, but I did it.
Between telling myself that I was light as a feather and imagining her cheering me on, COME ON KARA. YOU GOT THIS!!!, the run felt pretty damn good. I was even able to finish my run with a few 20s kickers with 40s jog during the last .75 of a mile to see what my legs were made of after an hour and a half of running and let me tell you, WATCH OUT WORLD.
Sometimes all you need is an outside voice to encourage you, to build you up and give you exactly what you need to succeed. So on your next run or workout, pretend someone else in cheering you on. Use your name. It separates you from your own mind and brings a spark of energy you didn’t know you had and you might just surprise yourself with what you accomplish.