Thursday, February 16, 2012

Low Run-Esteem....Change your Thinkng.


I got a proverbial punch in the face tonight by my run.

I headed out for a run at 6 PM, it has been a long day at work and I was hungry, didn't really feel like running, but I had that nagging knowledge that I NEED to run. You know, something about a marathon and an ultra hovering above my head like a black cloud, reminding me to get out there and run. So I walked in the door at 6, said hello to the fam, changed my clothes and headed out into the gray, misty evening. I actually like running in the mist. It is much better than pouring rain and more bearable than 99% humidity and 100 degrees.

Anyhow. I started out and felt pretty fresh-for the first 300 yards. Then BAM.  I was tired. Bored. Hungry. Grumpy. Sore. Bored....

I suddenly didn't really care. I started to worry about my pace, my legs, my training. Doubting myself, my abilities, my determination. My commitment! My willingness to persevere! I actually had the thought, "I wonder how ugly it would be if I showed up for the marathon with my current average of 10-15 miles a week?" Then I immediately went to--"I can't do an ULTRA! What was I thinking?!"

That's when it hit me....I am suffering from Low Run-Esteem.

Now, I know better than to let my thoughts beat me down and influence my feelings...and to let my feelings guide and effect my behavior.

Have you ever heard of the Cognitive Triangle? Well here is your chance.... Simply put "I tell myself something" "I feel something" "I do something"... All three are very closely related. It's been proven and research provides significant fact if you think about it you could probably identify many examples.


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This diagram is pretty common in the field of mental health. I use it all the time with the kids I work with actually. You see, putting this triangle to work I can analyze what happened on tonight's run and why I ended up walking before my Garmin chirped the One Mile mark. I THOUGHT I was tired, I thought I was bored----so I felt bored, I felt hungry, I felt tired, I thought I was starving, I thought I had to get home and make dinner, I thought I had to go home to do nothing and sit down, I started to feel grumpy and lazy-----My BEHAVIOR mirrored my thoughts and feelings. I slowed down. I drug my feet. I WALKED for crying out loud. I turned around and headed home at the 1.7 mile mark. I quit at just under 3 miles. I defeated myself with my negative thoughts....

So what can you do when you realize your thoughts and feelings are negatively impacting your run? STOP. Yes, simply stop the thought in process....change the thought...imagine a stop sign. No really!


When I told myself I was tired and bored I could have STOPPED that thought and replaced it with, Wow! It feels great to be out here, in nature, outside, after being inside working all day long! Or even, YES! I am so lucky to be able to run today! Without a doubt, when you replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts you can see how it effects your behavior. So go ahead, I challenge you to think about this during your runs for a few days...I can recall times while running with my running partners, when the conversations got a little heavy, or emotional, the run got physically harder, my legs got tired, my pace slowed. So it's not just negative thoughts about running, but negative thoughts in general.

So the lesson is: Think positive, feel positive.


  1. I've totally done this! I've let my negative thoughts bring me down and bring my run down. Sometimes I can spot it and I know to change my outlook, other times I'm too wrapped up in my pity party.

  2. I hate it when I let my negative thoughts ruin my run, great job catching yourself!

  3. So true!! Thanks for the cool diagram!

  4. Positive thinking or not, some days I just can't get out of my own way, and it's better to dump the run and not frustrate myself. I think it's just a matter of knowing what ones to push through and what ones are just going to make you generally like running less. Better luck on the next time out.

  5. Great post, Amanda! Me and Mel use this trick with the weather a lot. When it's raining and yucky, we say, "Wow. It's so gorgeous out today! Hope I don't get a sunburn!" LOL

  6. I have to work hard at this one, but it is worth it!

  7. This is a very timely post for me. I have been suffering the same negative thoughts. Thanks for sharing your "triangle".

  8. I'm having low-run-esteem these days, in part because I'm trying to focus on swimming and biking (not doing very well with that focus, cough, cough), and I'm not doing any races until April. I just told my partner last night that I feel like I'm more out of shape than I was in the fall when I wasn't training for anything. Crazy thoughts, I know!

  9. Ahhhh this is so what happened to me this week!! When I texted you after my 2 the other day that's exactly how I felt! Thanks for the insight!

  10. Great post! This is exactly what happens to me at work, I don't like my job and have all those negative thoughts and it just makes it more miserable. I'm working on changing my thought process but it's so difficult, my mind always goes back to the bad thoughts :(

  11. Thank you for posting this! I've been going through this low run esteem thinking lately. Partly because I had an episode where I passed out on a run! It was then I started doubting myself. I felt like a wimp and a pathetic runner! After some rest and hydration I'm hoping to get back out there next week with a positive mantra!

  12. I thought I already commented on this! Whoops! Love that you are bringing in your mental health awareness & counseling background! I feel trapped in this cycle at times too! Great post!

  13. LOVE this. I have a little theme song that I start singing in my head that is my "YOU LOVE THIS YOU SAT INSIDE ALL DAY WHEEEE" change-of-mental-tone cue.

    It's the song that the airplanes sing in AIrport Mania. LOL.

  14. So ya I am behind on blog reading but am SO glad I read this! Thank You very much for posting, I have had several issues going on leaving me to struggle pretty bad and have come to the conculsion myself about staying positive!


You're pretty much awesome!!


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