Running - The secret behind the cardio

I have been a runner for most of my life. Other’s come to me almost daily asking questions or sharing their excitement about starting out their running journey. Many people that I chat with want to start running but just can’t find the motivation to begin.

I like asking people that hate running WHY they hate it. The most common responses I get are: when I start my entire body hurts, I can’t breath and I can’t run for longer than 2 minutes.

If you are reading this I am sure you are thinking… “Yes, I have felt that exact same way about running”. Whether you are a novice runner that just started their first run 10 minutes ago or someone that has ran every day for the past 10 years – EVERYONE has these thoughts. So why is it that some are able to actually run longer than others. There is one simple answer. Mindset.

Your body can physically do so much more than your mind allows it. When our heart rates rise and our respiration rate increases, our bodies initially start to think fight or flight. Something bad is happening. Once you allow even just 5 minutes of a healthy increased heart and respiration rate, exercise becomes “easier”. It’s not that the running is any easier, it’s that your mind is adjusting and realizing that now this exercise is the new normal.

The first 5 minutes of running for most are the toughest, the mental blocks and mind tricks you play on yourself telling you “ouch stop, I can’t breathe” are almost insurmountable. Push past those first few minutes however and experience how you feel then. Often throughout a run those feelings may come back, you may slow down or want to stop and this is where the MAGIC takes place.

When I was in high school I was running my fastest pace during a race that I REALLY wanted to place in. If I came in the top 10 runners I would advance to states. At the 2nd mile marker my coaches not only told me my split but screamed for me to read my hand. We used to write mantras on our arms and hands before our races. When experiencing a mental block we would repeat these phrases over and over to take our minds away from the “no, I can’t do this” to the “oh hell yea you can”.

My favorite mantra is so stupid simple that I am embarrassed to share that “just keep running” is what literally forced my butt over that finish line to capture my spot at states and hit a personal record that I was never able to beat since.

Mantras while running are not a new thing. Check out this article published by Runner’s World. Top runners from around the globe use mantras to push themselves every time they go out for a long run or race!

Here are also a list of the things that myself and some of my closest running friends say to themselves while running:

  • Just keep moving
  • Just breathe 
  • You are the best runner there is
  • Beat her (meaning yourself)
  • Run Faster, Be better

It is not that you are incapable of running, it’s that you have not yet learned how to distract your mind from the negative towards a place of empowerment. Finishing a long run, surviving that run and feeling amazing afterwards is the most empowering thing I have ever done. Don’t let negative thoughts stop you from reaching your potential.