Running is definitely a love or hate relationship. I used to detest cross country races and long distance running at school. I felt a lot happier to sprint 100m and get it over with and then move onto the next sports day event. Despite this, I always wanted to run the London marathon; I guess it was just a bucket list item to tick off to say I have done it. But it was when I went to university I learnt to love running. It does sound stupid but for those who have the ‘running bug’ will completely understand the passion and drive for this sport.
Looking back, I enjoyed my time at university studying Psychology but it was when I left higher education my running started to increase. I was seeing a dramatic improvement in my endurance and times and was getting a huge ‘buzz’ each and every time I ran. My running buddies were commenting how well I was doing and this gave me such a positive feeling and a sense of achievement.
I entered more and more running events and increased my training to accommodate these collecting medals along the way. Good running psychology is telling yourself things like, ‘no pain, no gain.’ Or ‘pain is only a weakness leaving the body.’ I soon realised that running was becoming my defence mechanism for dealing with emotional pain. But the more I ran the more I had to run to get the same feeling of achievement for the same endurance.
Sports psychology focuses on anticipating thoughts and situations that will arise during hard efforts, and practising how to navigate them while under physical stress. Running definitely teaches your body to adapt to highly stressful situations and improves your mental determination in other aspects of your life.
The reason for choosing this topic for a blog is to highlight, that running away from your problems is a race you will never win. I did and still do use running as a strategy for coping with stressful situations. The more stressful or the less control I have over the situation the more I run. Without a doubt, life is not a race it is a journey and it is important to have a variety of methods in your personal ‘toolbox’ to deal with situations that arise.
Running is just one way of coping with a life event and for some people that is sufficient. Remember if running was easy everyone would do it as it is proven to defuse negative thoughts and energy. Life does not get easier but you do get stronger. It is important to find that level of balance without causing any determent to your health or interfering with your daily activities.
The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.
I am Kate Ball and I am a runner.
By Kate Ball