Why is it that our brains cannot seem to call up the endorphinal high we feel after a good run when we really need it—before the run! And if it does, even slightly, then why aren’t we chomping at the bit to get out the door?
If you’re a runner, you know what I mean. It’s almost like Groundhog Day for your brain. If you’re anything like me, you go through this whole process every time you decide to run, and it looks something like this.
It starts with an innocent proposal. That warm, sleepy, groggy brain of yours has a brilliant idea: I should go for a run!
Then, optimism: I should go for a run this morning. Which means I should probably run right now!
You look out of the window. It’s cold. And dark. Was that wind I heard? Bad juju starts to creep in. My bed feels so good, and even though it’s spring, it’s really cold out there. And dark. Running in the cold and dark seems scary.
Next, we see some bargaining: How about I just run a mile? Just get out there and run and maybe I’ll want to run more! Just think how badass I will be if I do get out and run in the cold, dark wind.
If we can somehow stop this whole bargaining process of “should I run?” and just get out there and run, we’d be much happier, and we’d have more time on our hands.
The sooner we drag our butts out the door and run, the sooner we get to feel that great exhausted feeling of just having run. Stop thinking that the weather will be better in an hour, or that you’ll have more energy, or that you need to throw in a load of laundry before you go. Just get out there and run.
We’ve heard of muscle memory. Well now it’s time to talk motivational memory. The more positive runs you rack up, the more your brain will tell you to get your butt out the door. It becomes less of a big deal, and more of a habit. If we can build a good habit of running, our bodies and our minds thank us, and we can stop this ridiculous process of questioning whether we should.
Things that help to bypass the “should I run?” question: schedule a run with a friend or two. If it’s scheduled, and there’s a definite time, there is no question. Join a running group with scheduled weekly workouts.
Or just tell your brain to shut the hell up and go run.