The Mental Aspect of Running

By Alicia Chen

Believe it or not, running is more of a mental sport than it is physical. Mind over matter. Sure you have to be in shape, but even if your endurance is strong, you still won’t be able to run for more than ten miles if you don’t have the mental endurance. Marathoners need to have the toughest minds in order to put their legs through 26 miles of pure pain and lactic acid without giving up.

You know that annoying voice in your head that starts to complain whenever you start to run? It says “I’m tired… ”, “can we walk already?”, and “this is painful”. This complaining voice is your biggest enemy. It’s a bully if anything. It puts you down when you should be complimenting yourself for getting up and actually running. Most of the time, this voice is the reason you stop running before the mileage you wanted. Over time, and as you run more, you start to ignore this voice and keep pushing past the pain. You have to believe in yourself and believe that you can finish your run without walking. But the first few times, failure is inevitable so don’t feel too bad about it.

Another mental part of running is the act of actually bringing yourself to run. Whenever I need to run, I always feel this apprehension related to it. If I need to run by myself, chances are I’ll stall until 6 o’clock, which is not a fun time to run because by then my family will be eating dinner and I’ll be running and thinking about eating dinner. But running will only seem like a task if you let it become one. If you think of running as something fun and exciting, then you look forward to it more and procrastinate less. I’ve found that running to music or running with friends makes it a lot more exciting and enjoyable. You have someone to talk to, and you don’t get bored of your own thoughts. Trust me, your thoughts can get really boring. Maybe when life goes back to normal, find a running buddy to run with. For now, plug-in those earbuds and ignore that complaining voice.

Alicia Chen

Alicia is currently a freshman, graduating in 2024. Her favorite book is One of Us Is Lying, and she enjoys writing informational pieces that provide differing opinions on various topics. She likes to interview other students and feature their opinions and experiences in her writing as well.

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