I recently came across the following short movie about the mind games runners face when choosing to run and challenge themselves on a daily basis. I think it's a great snapshot if internal battles that go through our heads when we try to do something outside our comfort zone:

Yes, it's hard to go out and run with temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius, it's hard to go out and run in rain or even snow. And when you do it, the internal battles don't end. You think you won't be able to run more than a mile today, your legs are heavy, the water puddle appears out of nowhere and your feet are wet now... The list of "reasonable" excuses seems endless.

And this isn't specific to running, of course. We play that sort of mind games when it comes to other tasks that are difficult and (usually) non urgent. Going into super productive mode when facing a deadline or pressure from someone comes naturally to us, but when you choose to do something for your own good, like a New Year's resolution... ah, that's when the mind games come into play.

And it's that sort of mind games I personally often face when it comes to blogging. I'll finish this blog post tomorrow... What if my ideas aren't good enough? Someone is better at this than I am...

But if there's something I've learnt from running on my own, it's that the effort pays off in the end. Mind games are part of the challenge, and the trick is to take it slowly, one run at a time, stick to your schedule, and not let the bad runs stop you. Oh yes, there will be bad runs in the mix, you can count on it. But in the end it's those runs that count the most and make you stronger. Because afterwards, you feel like a hero, and you won the game against the part of you that wants to keep you safe by doing nothing.


So, what are you waiting for? Go take that run, publish that blog post that has been collecting dust as a draft for way too long now, take the trip you've always wanted to take, start that big personal project you've been putting off. Just don't fear the bad runs.

Originally published at http://ialja.blogspot.com/2010/12/embracing-mind-games-and-bad-runs.html