Keep Running Stress Free

Posted: 19th June 2013 by mockjogger in Inspiration, Lists
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keep calm
I’m prone to getting stressed, particularly about (1) inanimate objects that just won’t do what they should, and (2) attaching stuff to walls. To keep stress from invading my running karma, I apply the following rules.

1. I set realistic targets

I may never run super long. Most certainly, I will never run super fast. I’m naturally “relaxed”, and I find that setting goals helps my motivation. So I set myself two types of targets, those based on making incremental improvements, and those that are just about possible at some time in the future. I try not to get sidetracked by what others can do or have done. I really enjoy reading race blogs, but I read them with empathy, never envy. Running is individual; it’s just me, the road, and the playlist.

2. I celebrate small victories

When I first started running again after a bit of a hiatus (I ran a total of zero miles in 2010) I made a point of celebrating each training run in which I actually overtook someone. I remember my first overtake after starting to run again – an elderly lady, barely jogging, but it didn’t matter to me. It was a result, and I partied afterwards like it was 1999. Nowadays I celebrate any PB with a top-shelf red. Because I’m worth it.

3. I reward myself for big progress steps

What would be a fair reward for actually finishing my first marathon? Or running a sub-50 10K? Having just experienced trail running for the first time, some trail running shoes sounds good. I plan rewards based on major distance/time targets. Fortunately for my bank balance, big progress steps only happen a couple of times a year.

4. I avoid conflict with work and family

Running is important but it can’t always come first. I plan my running around work and family commitments. Occasionally I need to bend this rule a little to fit in races or preparation, but with some juggling it is possible to clock the miles without conflict. I have to travel on business now and then and these days my running shoes come with me.

5. I try not to procrastinate

I get out when I can. I really try not to put off a run if I have the opportunity to do it. I view each run, even if it is a slow jog recovering from a cold, as miles in the bank. And they all add up. The excuse devil puts himself forward now and then, especially when I am contemplating the first run back from a holiday or other lapse, but I try not to listen. I know my body and my mind will thank me for it afterwards.

6. I don’t try to control the uncontrollable

Sometimes I just can’t run for whatever reason; injury, illness, business trip, birthday party etc etc. Whilst its tempting to get annoyed and grumpy about that, I try to do the easy thing and just accept it. I know the road and the park are still going to be there when the blocking event is done. And there’s a PB and a new pair of running shoes to shoot for.

stress free