Happiness/ Running

Negative Self-Talk While Running

Ok, the consensus on shellac: there is no consensus. Some people swear by it, other say it chipped too easily, others say it lasted forever, others say it was a pain to get off. But I’m still gonna try it in a few weeks. With this gal. And I can’t wait. Stay tuned.

For now, we’re moving off the topic of mani/pedis to the topic of running. Although they are kind of related since I’m missing two toenails because of running. The confused ladies always paint the mess that remains where  a toenail should be and ask “what you do?” I get a sick thrill in telling them I run. But I still want a discount because I have fewer nails to clean up. Winking smile

Annnyway, I haven’t run a race in a while…not since the 5K when I beat my PR and before that it was the Mistletoe Half Marathon. But I’ve got the Blue Ridge Relay coming up in about a month so I decided that I should, ya know, actually start running on a more regular basis. Oh and maybe I should do some of those runs outside.

The few runs I’ve mentioned here in the past month have all been on the treadmill. I know I’ve given tips about running in the heat before, but sometimes, I just can’t hack the heat. But to perform well in undesirable conditions, you’ve got to train in those conditions.

So I went out on Saturday for a long run. No set distance or pace in mind. Just a long run, which I classify “long” as anything over 6 miles. I put my hair up in the bun and headed out.IMG_1994

I won’t lie. The run was kind of miserable. It was really really humid. Not too hot – 80/85 degrees – but really humid. Like I was so-freaking-soaking-wet-with-sweat-five-minutes-into-it humid. I felt like I was breathing through a wet washcloth the entire time. I had to keep taking walk breaks every half mile or so after the first half of the run. My legs felt like lead and I just couldn’t get into a groove.

As I was taking my umpteenth walk break, I realized that I kept berating myself every time I’d take a walk break. Thoughts like, “I’m a terrible runner.” “I’m gonna die in the relay race. Gosh, I’ll be so embarrassed when my teammates see me walking.” “This run is a failure.” Not nice, right?

I have never thought those things about anyone else who takes walk breaks while running. So why on earth would I beat myself up over the fact that I needed to walk? Having that realization that I was being unfair to myself helped my attitude for the last few miles, both the run and walked portions. But I still had those thoughts in the back of my mind throughout the rest of the run and before I even realized what I was doing, described the run later in the day to a few others as “terrible.”

Yeah, I didn’t feel in top form and it wasn’t a super joyous run like they some are, but it was a run. A 7.5 mile run, in fact. And it’s pretty great that my body lets me do that.

IMG_1995(I’m a little sad that I put an Instagram filter over this post-run picture because you can’t tell how incredibly red and sweaty my face was.)

I’m going to try to be aware of the negative talk during my runs and work to correct my attitude. I don’t beat myself up during other types of workouts…just running. I have some more thoughts on why that is, but that’s another topic, another day.

Do you ever struggle with negative self-talk during workouts? Is there a certain type of workout where you struggle with those thoughts?

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62 Comments

  • Reply
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    at

    I had the exact same problem last Monday. I went out for a 6.5 mile run, and I took a lot of walking breaks. I beat myself up and then when I got home I got mad that I did that because 1) it was 95 degrees out in the middle of the day and 2) it was humid as all heck!

    Great job on the run!

  • Reply
    Lisa (Im an Okie)
    at

    I am starting to run outside because I have another mud run in September and I wasn’t prepared for the heat this past time. Walk breaks are ok. And you are right–you did good in some extreme conditions!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      My extreme conditions aren’t nothing compared to OKC heat! I hope you are surviving!

  • Reply
    Pure2raw twins
    at

    i struggle with negative talk when working out, not an exact type of workout, all depends on what else is going on around me. when life is stressed and I am getting pulled in all directions I find any type of workout, even yoga, hard to be positive during it. But I push myself to at least move my body, and just me happy with whatever I can get done. 🙂

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      It’s hard not to be negative when doing Body Rock because the whole time, all I can think is, I’m gonna die!!!! 😉

  • Reply
    Carissa
    at

    i always fight negative running talk. I’m so mean to myself. I run pretty slow and I want to run faster but it doesn’t happen. Plus I need walk breaks. I need to just be happy that I can and do run! Thanks for reminding me!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      you’re welcome! good luck doing better with your thoughts!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    at

    Oh my gosh I totally had a run just like that! My sister and I did just 3.2 miles and by the end I couldn’t breathe, I was dying! So instead of being happy that I actually finished the 3 miles I told my sister to get away from me because I was so upset and needed a minute to think about the fact that I’ll never complete the 1/2 marathon we signed up for in February. Ridiculous! Thank you for this post, I’m going to be much more aware of negative self talk from now on!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      Thanks for sharing Kristin. Ridiculous is a good word! We both seem to escalate to I-can’t-do-anything-if-this-run-is-hard mentality! That is ridiculous!

  • Reply
    Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn
    at

    I have this same issue. I HATE having to take walking breaks — I get embarrassed! But I never think badly about those that do, so how does this make sense? You kicked ASS girl!! 7.5 miles is no joke!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      I get soooo embarrassed about walk breaks too! Yes – it makes perfect sense that you don’t think badly about others. I’m the same way! I encourage others too but am mortified when I have to.

  • Reply
    Katie
    at

    oooh, I have definitely had those runs before! I have actually cried on a run – so I can definitely see how negativity can ruin a good thing. I have to remind myself sometimes how fortunate I am to be able to run (and even walk!) in the first place and then just be grateful to be outside moving. Good job with those 7.5 miles!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has cried on a run 🙂

  • Reply
    Shae
    at

    I always beat myself up when I workout at home, usually during cardio or a particularly difficult yoga routine.

    I hate it! No beating ourselves up! Not allowed 🙂

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      Not allowed!!! I like that! 🙂

  • Reply
    Katie @ Real Food Katie's Way
    at

    I totally struggle sometimes! Mostly when I have a bad run…BUT then I tell myself:

    “Katie, you used to be 135 pounds heavier and you couldn’t walk up 3 flights of stairs without knocking on deaths door. GREAT job on the workout, no matter how slow or unmotivated you felt! You made a healthy choice today and that’s what truly matters”

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      hot damn! that’s amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run
    at

    Teri! Man there are tons of bloggers out there that live in NC! I live in VA, in the Blue Ridge, and let me tell ya…running in the Blue Ridge can be a killer! (Especially in this heat…you get kudos for that!)

    When I’m running, I tend to berate myself a little when I stop for a short walk break. Doesn’t matter what mile I’m in. I know that I can run longer periods of time in the cooler weather, but I “forget” that when I’m actually running. Weird, isn’t it? You did fantastic in your run, though, so keep on keeping on! 🙂

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      We need to have a blogger get-together at Mabry Mill! 🙂 Although, I supposed the Blue Ridge is long – you might not even be close to it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Leah @ L4L
    at

    I *always* beat myself up about running. Good thing husband is there to talk me down and make me remember how far I’ve come!

  • Reply
    Hannahviolin
    at

    I do that all the time…I really need to stop being so hard on myself. Grr!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    at

    I don’t know if you would call it negative self talk or more like just negative talk, but I would be totally complaining in my head anywhere after mile 5 or so. Not beating myself up, but just arguing about stopping or going. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy 🙂

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      I argue with myself about stopping and going too. Why are we our own worst enemy??

  • Reply
    debbie
    at

    I think you hit the nail right on the head with this post. We tend to be our own worst critics. Some of the stuff I criticize myself for I would NEVER think of criticizing anyone else for…this needs to change.

    p.s. in my experience, shellac really isn’t all that worth it…it doesn’t last nearly as long as they promise you it will and there’s like 2 colors to choose from, no joke.

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      I agree – it needs to change!!

      thanks for the feedback on shellac! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren
    at

    Oh gosh, I can be horrible with the negative self-talk. Then usually my positive self-talk kicks in and they battle it out for a while until somebody wins.

    I try to keep perky mantras in my back pocket for these days.

  • Reply
    Ash Bear
    at

    Hey lovely lady! I actually did a post all about negative self-talk and coveting other people’s runs on Saturday. Let me know what you think: http://wp.me/p1mXUJ-1dS

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      such a great post! I just read it and just realized that you had twitter replies linked on yours too! haha! I swear I’m not copying you!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Corey @ Learning Patience
    at

    I try and not think about any negative self talk while exercising…have to focus on the fact that I am exercising at all and stay positive. 🙂 xoxo

  • Reply
    Alaina
    at

    During the summer, I definitely put myself down if a run doesn’t go as well as I had hoped. I just keep telling myself that the bad runs will make the good runs seem great. 🙂 And just the fact that I’m out at all makes me feel better.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    at

    Wow, I totally feel you on this and I thought I was the only one. Doesn’t help that my running partner/husband believes that walking one step is a failure. I guess as you said, I need to try to just remember and be grateful to my body that I can run/walk at all!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      you are definitely not the only one! check out all the comments on this post – it’s something many of us struggle with!

  • Reply
    Krissy @ Shiawase Life
    at

    I could have WROTE this post. Seriously, actually, I am writing a very similar post now so I know exactly what you’re talking about. I had a 20 mile long run this Sunday and probably walked about 4 miles of it, because of the humidity and my darn wet socks. UGH. And I agree, I never think it’s bad when others do it, so why YOURSELF?

    I think it is very important, as others have mentioned, to have a positive mantra, and to keep smiling! 😀 We are very fortunate to be able to walk/run/jog/move! =D

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      perspective helps! I used to be able to run 20 miles…and am struggling with 7. So 20 miles is AMAZING!!! even if you walk 4 measly miles of it!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Running in the Kitchen
    at

    Sure do. My negative talk has to do with my speed – I’m slow as molasses. I try to do what you do and focus on the fact that my body is letting me run. That is the ultimate gift!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      you are right – it is a gift!!!

  • Reply
    Alysha @ She's on the Run
    at

    I feel like running is the only time when I feel completely carefree (it’s the other times in the day when the negative self-talk creeps in).

    BTW, do you run in your sports bra? I SO WISH I had the confidence to do that! (It’s one of those things I say I’ll do if I “lose 10 lbs”)

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      that is wonderful that you feel carefree during your runs!

      I just posted tonight on running in sports bras! Rock it girl, even before those 10 pounds! People will noticed your confidence way more than they’ll notice any “flaws” that you think you have!

      • Reply
        Hannahviolin
        at

        Such a good point. I was nervous in May about running in just a sports bra, because I was worried that people would look at my stomach jiggling, but then I realized how much COOLER I was, and I haven’t looked back. I’m sure at some point in the fall I’ll be cold and put my shirt back on…and i’m pretty sure no one has noticed my fat jiggling other than me.

  • Reply
    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    at

    I haven’t experienced much negative self-talk with running yet. In fact, it usually cures negative self talk I may be having from other situations. Then again, I’m early in the running game so I can see it coming up in the future as I have more to compare my running to…I’ll have to stay mindful though. Like you said, best to focus on the miraculous fact our bodies can carry us through runs. Great job on your 7.5 miles!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      have i told you lately how much i look up to you? because i do. 🙂

  • Reply
    Hannah
    at

    i always deal with negative self talk when running especially when you see others cruising. i went on about a 7 mile run last week at like 930ish and it was so humid and hot. i also struggled but i just tell myself to keep going. keep going. it will all be worth it. 🙂 and it always feels great when I am done!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      yes, it does feel great when it’s done! no matter how long, slow, hot, or humid it was!

  • Reply
    Michael
    at

    I had a miserable mountain bike ride last week. I was stopping every 1/4 mile to catch my breath, recover my legs a bit… I was barely able to push out 8 miles. And yes, the ride was full of negative self talk. But I pushed through, did what I could, and then had a great ride two days later. Some workouts are just a struggle!

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      dude, i’m impressed you mountain bike at all! it scares the livin’ daylights out of me! Great job! that’s a good point -some workouts are just a struggle, no matter what! we gotta take them all in stride!

  • Reply
    Caree @ Fit-Mama
    at

    I am really struggling right now with running outside in the heat…but I really don’t want to lose the endurance I have built up but it is so tough not to stop the negative talk….I was just thinking this morning after my millionth horrible run that I will go running with a certain time frame and will finish that time frame even if I do need walking breaks. Like you said, what is so wrong with walking breaks?

  • Reply
    Cat @ Breakfast to Bed
    at

    two things- 1: I just got my nails shellacked Sunday-already chipped. Blogged about it. 2:I HAVE to shut off my brain when I’m running or repeat a positive mantra in my head over and over, or the neg self talk WILL take over.

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      thanks for the shellac feedback! and i love the idea of a mantra! When i ran my first marathon, mine was “I worked hard for this, I trained for this, I deserve this.” 🙂

  • Reply
    DebZ
    at

    usually my run self-talk is “just one more quarter mile … okay, one *more* quarter mile” until i reach my distance goal. but the worst is when the previous run or week of running was fantastic and i have expectations that every run thereafter should as good, if not better. when that doesn’t happen – like, always! – i am so hard on myself an so embarrassed if i have to walk parts or shorten the route.

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      I totally get the embarrassment factor!

  • Reply
    Mary Legare Whaley
    at

    I live in Charleston, SC—humidity is expected from April through September. I used to run 10+ miles a day until injury led me to explore other options, cycling and spinning specifically. But I would run in 95°+ heat, probably dangerous, but I would push through. You should never put yourself down when you’re running in miserable conditions! You should tell yourself: “Well damn! I’m one of like 5 people who is bold enough to hit the pavement today. Everyone else is on the couch being lazy and worthless.” And you are totally right; if you can run in the worst conditions, it makes racing a breeze! Keep up everything you do, and always remember, you are more than a step ahead of your competition. Think happy thoughts, even when you feel like you’re running in a sauna…

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      thank you so much for your positive, encouragement comment!!

      And i’m so jealous you live in charleston. I visited there earlier this year and loved it. eating at Lucca was the highlight!

  • Reply
    Clare @ Fitting It All In
    at

    I ALWAYS do this! At the beginning of a run I talk myself down about how I’ll never be able to do it. But the good thing is I always push through!

  • Reply
    Hally
    at

    Thanks for this post. I took a month off from running. No real reason why, but since I’ve gotten back I realized I’ve lost a bit of my step. So for the past week, instead of being proud of myself for getting back into it I’ve beat myself up for how slow and sluggish I’ve been. Thanks for making me take a breath and realize that no matter how slow I am, I’m faster than the couch potatoes. LOL

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      good luck getting back into it! I know it can be frustrating, but yes you are faster than couch potatoes!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Teri
    at

    GREAT JOB on your first 5K in a while! I love that you havea self-talk section on your blog!

  • Reply
    Holly Hardy
    at

    Um, your story about not being able to breathe, taking walk breaks, feeling like you’re breathing into a wet washcloth and your legs feeling like lead is exactly why I can’t bring myself to run more than 3 or 4 miles. And also the exact reason I’ve never run more than a 10k, I thought I was going to die. Then I feel super annoyed at myself and think I’m super out of shape…you know, then the downward spiral of negative self talk only goes further. Vicious cycle.

    You’re pretty. I can’t believe you run 7.5 miles in humind heat. TeriLyn=superhero.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    at

    I experience this on long bike rides. After a few hours of cycling, usually around mile 40 or 50, I start to feel mentally DONE. I’m just ready to be home. Taking a lot of breaks –with water and food–help a LOT

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