Running discipline and the use of reflexive vs. reflective thinking

During todays easy 36 minutes run, I thought about how my thinking had changed over the course of the last year and what made me stick to running nearly every day. What makes this so pleasant now in contrast to the beginning?

When I started, I was over thinking everything! Should I run or not, discussing every single possible excuse with myself. Then the whole internal battle with running slow. What do others think? What does this walker think? What does the dog think? … It was like a bad reflex, which I had no control over, just making me feel a bit bad. I was too slow, too fat, too sweaty … too whatever.

Horrible!

It changed however. This change was mainly due to a shift in thinking. Taking control over my thoughts, my plans and the way I talk to myself. Slowly (no pun intended) my thinking shifted into reflective, constructive thinking during my runs. If someone is faster, well that is probably, because they’ve been doing it for years! I will be like that too if I just stick with it. At that point, what will I think if I see a slower runner? I will probably think back about my own struggles and wish them well and respect them for keeping at it!

You read a lot on the Internet about positive thinking and attitude, but what does that mean? For me it meant taking control over the self talk that goes on inside my head and listen in to what is going on there. Then change my thinking from reflexive to reflective. If I wouldn’t have started to run, believed in myself and a doable plan/structure, reflected over my progress, listened to my body and adjusted things, I’m pretty sure, I’d still be “trying to run 19×3 minutes“.

9 Comments

    1. You are so right! I was just looking at a route for tomorrow and checked last September’s runs … my long run is now way too short! It would only take me 1 hour now. I will have to double the route now or more …

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  1. Negative self talk is such a problem I am so pleased you have managed to substitute it with positive self talk instead. It is always difficult doing something that you are slow at at first but running is definitely something you have to build up to increasing your fitness gradually. I think determination and resilience are vitally important human characteristics more important than natural talent. Not that I am saying you don’t have natural talent but it is your determination to continue that most appeals to me.

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    1. Thanks 🙂 I am actually pretty sure that my talent points are spent on other skills! That is the greatest thing about running though, you don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it! It also is a fantastic way to improve discipline. It does help with all my business related goals. If I just do a little each day it will amount to something massive after a while.

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