Runners Managing Emotions: When the human in you is being tested

Running can be emotional. Ask the injured runner how it feels to be on the elliptical stationed behind the row of treadmills and you’re putting yourself at risk for a major @$$ whooping. ;)
injured runner
On the contrast, approach the runner who, physically spent after crossing the line after a new PR is miraculously able to overcome full lactic acid overload and jump around like a giddy school girl.

Something about all those endorphins coursing through a runner’s veins can sure bring out the emotions. Running just makes everything else feel more ‘real’.

‘Normal people’ can’t quite understand the unique ecstasy experienced after a run that was just ‘on.’ Conversely, ‘normals’ can’t wrap their heads around why a bad run can put you in such a crappy mood. “It’s just a run, right?” they ask scratching their heads. But it’s not…it’s more.

At least it FEELS like more. Running isn’t most of our jobs, it doesn’t make us billionaires, it won’t snuggle us late at night (but we can spoon with our Nike running shoes), but dang-it it sure brings a nice sense of purpose to things.

Running is black and white. It’s a constant when all other things may feel totally off the wall chaotic. It’s about working towards something, watching progress, seeing hard work PAY OFF. Not in the monetary sense, the worth of miles is, as MasterCard can tell us, ‘Priceless.’
keep running
I often say running keeps me sane. It’s reliable. You can always count on the run being there, it’s YOU that has to show up.

Injuries are unavoidable, as are set-backs, but eventually the run will be there for you. It’s like the welcome mat that never gets tossed out.

Dealing with the emotional side of running is what tests the HUMAN in us. Struggling with an injury is the greatest test of a runner’s will. But you CAN get thorough it. Just as you CAN persevere through the ‘low’ points in your running career. The sh*tty workouts and despicable races. They have their place…they teach us lessons.

Savor the euphoric moments running will grant you, they are free of charge (well, unless you count the INSANE amount races seem to cost these days!) but more rewarding than anything those green presidents can buy you.

Remember those moments to get you through the brutal stretches of injury rehabbing. With everything, keep your perspective.

Running can sure bring out some strong emotions, like the pregnant women who instantly tear up at a sappy commercial…a runner can’t help but feel moved to cheer like mad, be pumped up on adrenaline, riding the high of motivation upon watching an inspirational feat of a fellow runner. [Heck, it's even okay for you boys to admit that's not just your allergies. ;) ]
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Post on the MENTAL survival through an injury.

Post on how being PATIENT with your running wins out.

Post on the highs and lows of running and keeping things in check.
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1) Share one of the happiest moments running has brought you.

2) Share one of the lower moments, how did you stay proactive and positive that you WOULD be running again.

3) What’s one of the most inspiring things you’ve seen or heard another runner do that helped motivate you?

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20 Comments

Filed under bad races, injuries, motivation, running

20 Responses to Runners Managing Emotions: When the human in you is being tested

  1. I saw someone I’m pretty sure is a runner at my gym this week – she has the physique of one, and then she went to transition from the ellipticals (I was doing cross training) to a treadmill and stopped straight away limping. She came back tot he ellipticals looking teary and I wanetd to say something, but didn’t think it was quite my place. Drives it home though – emotion definitely comes out when running is interrupted, as well as when it’s good!

  2. Can you get an Amen! of course. Well put, and yes, I try to savor those euphoric moments, and I’m always chasing them (Thus, chasing the dragon). Most marathons, I can’t help but cry at the end.

    Running turns the volume and intensity of life up. All the way to 11.

  3. I saw a girl after a half this past weekend very upset because she missed her goal by seconds. That can be so frustrating. I reached my goal but I was angry at myself for poor pacing. It was a tough race. It doesn’t stop us though. The tough races and runs gets me out there to do it again and show that race what I am made of! There is a race I ran a couple of years ago before I started running. I walked a ton of it. It was so hard for me. I really want to go back for a redemption race.

    • u’ve been doing redemption races EVERY time u don’t walk…all that progress forward are victories. and next time u race, get that pacing down, and u’ll have another big victory. :) PS- but still a congrats on reaching ur goal! hehe

  4. Kim

    Back in my racing days (you know, the old days!!), I used to love that feeling of passing someone right before the finish line!!

    On a sort-of related note, Chris was talking about the PT test at the base (they just have to run 1.5 miles) and some of the faster guys – he said I should come out one day and run the course. I told him if I did, I needed one of your “you got chicked” shirts first!!!

  5. Amy

    So I now have another excuse for my constantly strong emotional response to everything! I thought it was just because I am overly sensitive – now I know it’s those endorphins. Usually my crying is happy though, don’t get me mixed up with some sad sap.
    My running has brought me so many happy moments. But my favourite is always seeing my Mum standing at the finishing line waiting for me. Usually crying – I guess that’s where I get it from!
    At the moment I am struggling with getting back into form after my asthma went undiagnosed for a while. There are three months left until I race my next half marathon so I am getting back into the game slowly, and just aiming to cross the finishing line in July. No pressure. (Oh, and you know which shirt I’ll be wearing!)

    • u just keep that perfect perspective, take the progress and don’t put pressure on urself, u KNOW the fitness will come, u just need those blasted health/breathing problems under control. hang in there chickpea!!
      aww, and ur mum crying, how cute and sweet! she’s certainly got her own reserve of emotions due to endorphins maybe? hehe…maybe a vicarious endorphin high from u. :)

  6. omg. the emotional side of running is the frustrating part…the ups and the downs…but the piece that always brings me back. its the part that adds meaning to what i do. all i can think about right now is the emotion with which i watched my brother finishing his first marathon. he crashed and burned at mile 16. totally dehydrated and had to sit for at least 20 minutes and then walk several miles. but he ran across that finish line, eyes closed in relief, fist pumped. omg. priceless. that was the picture of courage, fight, determination. loved it.

    • talk about EPIC emotions…oh my gosh, remember when little bro did his FIRST race!!! oh my gosh, u have to be soooo freaking proud, i’m pumped! and it goes to show i guess all the perseverance runs in the family. :)

  7. I feel like you wrote this post for me!! I have been out with hip pain for over 2 weeks now. It is definitely frustrating!! Luckily, I found a new fitness class that I really love that has filled in some of my time.

    • then this post WAS for u! ;) i’m so glad u’ve got that new class to keep you energized and excited to sweat…get rid of that darn pain!

  8. I had a pretty awesome run last week at the San Luis Obispo Half. Met my goal which meant I set a PR and I felt great. That was fun.

  9. Hi!

    Thank you for checking out my site and yeah how funny that you too posted about nutrition! I dig your site! Very well written I must say! I figured this would be a good post to respond to as I THINK i am JUST now able to run again. After 9 months of recovery I think I do it. Send positive running vibes my way :)

    Cheers

    Diana
    1mileatatime.com

    • thanks so much for your own kind words and of COURSE i’m sending all those positive running vibes ur way!! CONGRATS on getting back to being able to healthfully run…be patient and keep up the progress forward! :)

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