Gordon at Running to Disney has posted a wonderful observation about the emotional side of running. I encourage everyone who reads my blog to take a moment, read Gordon’s thoughts, and then think about how emotions affect you during a run. If you aren’t a runner, but know one (or several), please read this to begin to understand what we go through and how you can better understand the emotions we experience during training or a race. If you don’t run or know any runners, Gordon’s thoughts should still resonate with you for any activity that you do passionately.
It is the kind of thought process like Gordon’s that make me proud to be a runner connected to a community that understands, on one or several levels, what it is like to train hard for a race and the emotional impact the training, preparation, and the running of the race has on each runner. It is different for everyone, as Gordon notes, and should be addressed as a unique response for each runner that can not be pigeonholed into neat categories. Nor should it. How I deal with a good or bad training run is going to be completely different not only from any other runner, but also from day to day, depending on my emotional state at the beginning of the run, during it, and at the finish.
I have had many training runs start out great and go downhill due to any number of things that still ended up being good runs because I pushed through the emotions that were threatening to make the training ineffective.
I have forced myself out the door, not wanting to run (certainly not outside), being in a terrible mood and during the run found joy or bliss at the fact that I was outside, getting exercise, training for a race.
Our emotional states are much more important than many people, including runners, believe. Telling ourselves that our minds have to convince our bodies that we can finish, find the strength to complete that last sprint, get up the hill, make it to the finish line, whatever the case might be is important, but the emotional toll that effort takes is rarely discussed, rarely considered.
How each of us faces the emotions that surface from our running helps shape how we train and how we run. It’s okay to take about it and we need to have that discussion more. You can bond through the miles on the road, but you can also bond through the feelings you have while on that road. Personally, I’m open to that talk anytime with anyone willing to listen and share. Are you?