When You Feel Frustrated: frame your mind, embrace living and be like water

I had bad running experiences lately.

How bad are they? Well, I happened to have the runs when I went for a run once (pun intended). I was running midway another time when a huge downpour occurred. Yet on another occasion, I ran for more than 10 km and experienced pain in one knee and the heel.

Then there were runs where the stats were sub-par. I was pumped up to run, yet I felt my body acting like dead weight on my pace. I ran at what I thought was very good pace, only to discover through my fitness app later that the average pace was actually worse than the typical stats.

I just feel lousy for now.

When you have that feeling, what do you do? Should you just give up?

I have been asking myself that question, and I came to the following conclusion: don’t.

Instead I tell myself the following so that I can get back to the right mindset towards running.

1. Running involves more than statistics. What goes into your body and how you treat your body are important to the running journey. For example, if you have more sleep, your body will be better primed for running. If you consume more proteins and carbs you are preparing your body for the endurance needed during runs.

Statistics only show the outcome of what you do to your body. They are the lag indicators of how you take care of yourself 24/7. So what this means is I have to take care of my entire well-being, if I want to have a good run at any one point in time. Embrace living. Statistics is not life.

2. Running depends very much on your state of mind. If I don’t feel good when I start running, I will probably not run well. Even if I feel good while running, it does not mean I will run well. A lot will depend how I become mindful in the process of running. Mindful breathing helps to a certain extent. What is needed is to center and focus on the present constantly.

This means doing away with glancing at my stats while running. It means keeping my mind focused on reaching the end point of my run instead of wondering in my mind how long more. It also means I have to talk to and encourage myself during the run. Being mindful also implies I have to take notice of my running posture and form, shifting my centre of gravity when necessary and keeping the form right. Framing my mind is the crucial thing.

3. Accept the issues that come and work around them. Adapt and adjust to the weather conditions. If it looks like it is going to rain, bring a cap and wear a top that can dry relatively quickly. If it is going to be too hot for a period of time, adjust the pacing to reduce possible fatigue or injury. If I know my legs are going to give me issues, run at a slower pace instead of pushing for better stats.

Be like water, like what Bruce Lee once said. If I know how to work around these issues, I may perhaps have a better chance of clocking better performance in actual races. There is no need to clock a best performance each time. Running is a journey, not a test.

The next time I feel lousy about my runs, I should keep framing in this way to encourage and motivate myself.

Likewise this can also be a way to remind myself about other areas of my life too. Be like water, frame your mind and embrace living.

How do you encourage yourself when you feel frustrated or weary? How do you push yourself to do better? How can you position your mindset to turn the situation in your favour?

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