If your training is causing more pressure than pleasure. ,here’s how to deal.
I’M STANDING IN the tiny kitchen of my flat, staring at the fridge. I’m not rummaging for the food that’s in it, I’m looking at what’s pinned on it: a marathon training calendar.
The plan is two pages long. I couldn’t fit 16 weeks’ worth of workouts on one sheet of paper, and that alone causes anxiety to bubble up each morning when I review the day’s workout. The calendar is covered with red pen scribbles – a method I used to make changes because I’m not only training for a marathon, I’m also trying to have a life. Scanning the sea of red makes me want to go back to bed instead of lacing up my takkies.
I’m not sure exactly when my relationship with running turned toxic. Instead of my kilometres being the stress reliever I rely on to tackle a busy day – my time to meditate, or work through mental blocks – they’re starting to add more stress. Setting my alarm clock for an early run brings about dread instead of excitement, and setting out my clothes for the next day now causes huffs of exasperation; none of which puts me in the right head space for a good run.
All of these signs may point to a problem, and David Siik, senior manager of running and creator of Precision Running at Equinox in Los Angeles, says it has everything to do with, well – me.
“Runners make the mistake of believing that [their relationship with] running is only about emotions,” he says. “The reality is, [it] relies on two distinctive and equally important parts: your emotions around running, and your attitude towards running.” The two are connected but different, he says. If running feels stressful, that’s an emotion – one that’s likely to be spurred by an attitude shift.
It makes sense. Endorphin-induced positivity is not the only feeling associated with running. There’s the guilt that washes over when I miss a friend’s birthday party due to a long run, the frustration when I don’t hit my goal pace, and the stress over investing so much in yet another pair of running shoes.
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