There are so many things I love about running and I know I be a runner for the rest of my life. Of course this wasn’t always the case, since I used to hate running, always coming in at the back of the pack during those awful mile run tests in P.E. class during highschool. Luckily since then I have found my love for running as I run along our beautiful beaches on the Seawall, doing the Maui Half Marathon under the hot Hawaiian sun, and now training for my 6th half marathon with the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in June. Many things keep me running, but the way my runs keep me feeling empowered is how I know I will be a runner for life.
Here are three simple but powerful ways to empower yourself through your runs:
1. Use your running time to be present and connect – Take a break from the craziness of daily life and use your running time to finally tune in to yourself. Use the rhythm of your breathing to clear your mind and let yourself feel your own presence as your stride connects with the ground. During this time, you don’t need to worry about anything or anyone else except yourself, your body, and your heart beating. As you run, you are reminded that you can put yourself first, that your needs are important priorities, and that you could use more time to be present for yourself.
2. Practice pumping up your positive self-talk – I am a big fan of affirmations, especially while I run! The combination of heart pumping, sweat dripping, and thinking thoughts that make me feel strong and powerful is the biggest adrenaline rush I get on my runs. Whatever I am wanting to achieve at that point in my life is the soundtrack I play in my head. I look forward to running because I know I’ll come back even more pumped. Each time you run is a chance for you to practice positive self-talk.
3. Run through the items on your gratitude list – When we feel good, we do good, and this is one of my favorite side-effects of running. Especially on days when I’m not feeling strong physically, I’ll focus more of my energy on feeling grateful for all the things in my life, including being able to breathe and being out there pounding the pavement. When you can remember that there are others struggling simply to take a breath or who lack the privilege of being able to move their legs, you quickly appreciate your own ability to be out there, enjoying this excruciating thing we call running.
When I am gasping for air during the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon as I push myself to run my sub-2:00 goal, I know I’ll be relying on the strength I have built from some of these tips as well as those kilometers I will log between now and race day. From one empowered runner to another, see you out there on the road! Happy running!