Mind Games

I think  about running a lot.   I think about where I should run next, how far I should run, if I should do speed work or a hill run.   I think about whether I should really have brussels sprouts with dinner the night before a long run (the answer to that question should always be a resounding NO!).

I think about how long a run will take me and if I can make it back in time to get the kids to school or if I need to hand that duty off to Brad.  I think if I should really run 4 days in a row or if I should take a much needed rest day.

When I’m running I think about whether I’m running too fast or too slow.  Whether I should have left that extra layer at home (that answer is always YES!) and if my Garmin is really working properly.   I think about what I have to do after my run, if I can hop in the shower or if I have to take the kids to school looking like something that got pulled out of a swamp.

There are the days when my mind is my greatest ally, encouraging me to run faster, climb higher and go farther.   “Good on you Keli, it says.  You are a runner!  Keep it up, you are doing great!”

Then there are the other days when my greatest ally turns into my worst enemy.  “Stop.  You’re tired.  You need to go back home and have pancakes.”   Those days you feel like you’re dragging a piano behind you and your feet shuffle so slow it feels like you are going backward.  And not in a Michael Jackson moonwalking kind of backward either.

So when your brain plays tricks on you like you can either give in or get over yourself.  Here are a few tricks I’ve tried that actually work when the running gremlin is on your back.


Just for a minute.  Catch your breath, and start again.  If you feel like walking, do so, but just for a minute.

Turn off

Your watch, that is.  Turn it off and run for the run of it.  Let’s be realistic – you’re not running a PR today anyway so why torture yourself?


At this point, you are obsessing over how bad your run is going and that is a mistake.  Instead, turn your focus to finishing your run at an easy, steady pace.  Shake off the negative and get going.

These three simple steps will help you re-channel your energy when the gremlin is on your back.  I’ve used these techniques myself.  We all have bad days but it’s important not to dwell on them!

Now go run!


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