running tips: make a mental shift

mental training - running tips

"In 40 years I'll think back to when I could sprint and wish I had enjoyed it more"

Man oh man am I a pain in the ass sometimes when I’m working out with my trainer. I often have to remind myself I’m paying her for the torture I’m enduring. There’s a point in my workout when my mind becomes my biggest enemy and I just want to quit. This looks/sounds like – groaning, crazy faces, sly glances at the clock to see how much time I have left, really slow transition from one exercise to another, bringing up exciting news to stall the next set of reps…

The other day I decided to shift out of this. I was running sprints on the treadmill, wishing it was all over, wondering why it’s always gotta be so hard (sometimes I forget that trainers make workouts harder as you get stronger, I’m dumb like that) and decided to put an end to my self-induced misery.

So this is what I did. I made a choice to shift how I was looking at things.

I started thinking about how AMAZING it was that I could run as fast as I was running. I thought about how in 40 years when I’m 72 I’ll think back to the days when I could sprint and wish that I had enjoyed it more. I thought about how proud I should be for caring enough to work this bod of mine as much as I do. And I raaaaaan. I was tall, I was strong and I had a smile on my face. I was grateful.

When I hopped off of that treadmill sweaty and feeling like a million bucks, an older woman on the bike behind me said “Wow, that was incredible. Good work!” And I agreed.

One small victory friends, but big impact. Sometimes it just kills me to realize how much power I have over myself.


Chloe is Head of Leadership development at lululemon. She's passionate about people taking on life and making choices in line with their goals. Read more from her and leave a comment on her blog here.

read more related posts:


Great post. Having the mental fortitude to train as you described above is, I think, widely overlooked. Not many people look at exercising that way, but if they can, I think it would make the task a heck of a lot easier :)

There is a mental game to training and exercise and it’s something I’ve recently challenged myself to become better at, so that’s why I’ve really enjoyed this post!

Comment by Mike — May 14, 2010 @ 7:23 am

I’m glad you found that thought when you were running. I am a trainer and I am always wanting to give my clients motivation in their workouts. Appreciating what you can do is very valuable. I personally was on crutches for a month last year and could not run for over three months. I was envious of others that could and frustrated that many that could didn’t. All is fine for me now, but I remember that feeling of not being able and it inspires me to appreciate all I can physically do again. I remind myself and my clients to be thankful and kind to their bodies, enjoy their workouts and keep achieving their fitness goals.

Comment by Nancy Greco — May 14, 2010 @ 10:33 am

LOVE this! I have been looking for a way to get myself running and my cardio up but just couldn’t get motivated. Being grateful for what my body can do-such a great way to think can’t believe I missed it?!

Comment by sheena — May 14, 2010 @ 11:21 am

In 40 years you may be wishing you’d sprinted less, as you hobble around on your artificial knees done in by all the sprinting…

With yoga, I could still be doing the same poses when I’m 72.

But I do get your point. It’s good to appreciate all that our bodies can do today and work them to their edge, since we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Comment by sue — May 14, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

SO inspiring. Thanks so much Chloe – what a great way to look at it all. I do the same thing when I run, thinking to myself (in a grumbling voice – “if I run faster, it’ll be over sooner”.. and the like) The mental mind games cross over to virtually any activity. You’re so right – I’m taking this attitude into heated vinyasa this afternoon. Warrior II will have never seen me lunge so deep!

Comment by Christi — May 14, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

I agree with Christi, very inspiring. I have had those days where I feel motivated with how strong of a runner I have become. It is very hard to stay motivated every work out, I guess that’s a motivational thought before every work out. You don’t appreciate how good working out and running feels until you are on the side lines (from an injury or anything).
I hope to still be running when I am 72! :)

Comment by Megan — May 14, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

LOVE this post! I sympathize so much that I feel like I could have written it. I’ll be starting to run again this week after having my 2nd child and I’m sure it will resonate in my head as my mind wanders to kill time. But oh how I’ve missed running (and sprinting!) once I couldn’t even though I knew it was just for a short time. I had a friend way back in high school who would say before a sprint— “It’s only 1 minute of your entire life! We can do this!”
At 72, may we all still be sprinting and looking fabulous!

Comment by Joanne — May 17, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

So much great inspiration going on here. I feel very fortunate to have discovered this little trick called Gratitude at such a young age. I agree that running without being present in your body may lead to walking with artificial joints in 40 years. I believe there is a way to practice yoga WHILE running and by doing this, you can run safely and probably perform to a higher degree for many more than 40 years.

Comment by Brian — May 19, 2010 @ 11:02 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment