Em­brace pos­i­tiv­ity

Runner's World (UK) - - Running Wisdom -

un joy­fully’ is Kaitlin Good­man’s mantra, and she tries to per­son­ify this ev­ery time she heads out. But what does ‘run­ning joy­fully’ en­tail?

‘One, it's re­ally liv­ing off those en­dor­phins,’ she says. ‘I mean, how many runs do you ever re­gret go­ing on? Nine out of 10 times you feel bet­ter and hap­pier, and you have a clearer head. And try to ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity that you have to be out there.’

Tim Cata­lano, co-au­thor of Run­ning the Edge: Dis­cov­er­ing the Se­crets to Bet­ter Run­ning and a Bet­ter Life (Maven) is a for­mer elite run­ner with a de­gree in psy­chol­ogy. He says this ap­proach is a good ex­am­ple of self-de­ter­min­ism. You can choose to fo­cus on the pos­i­tive or the neg­a­tive in any en­deav­our and cre­ate your own ex­pe­ri­ence. When Cata­lano tack­led the six-day, 120-mile Tran­srock­ies Run last year, he re­ally put that ap­proach to the test.

‘There are go­ing to be some ter­ri­ble times when you run 120 miles in a week,’ he says. ‘But what I chose to re­mem­ber later – and what I chose to re­mem­ber in the mo­ment – was, “This is an amaz­ing gift that I have a body that can do this. I'm in the mid­dle of the Rocky Moun­tains ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing very few peo­ple get to.” And when you hold on to those no­tions, you're just hap­pier.’

CHANGE THIS En­joy run­ning for run­ning’s sake, not just for its out­comes.

WHY A happy, pos­i­tive run­ner per­forms bet­ter and feels more sat­is­fac­tion.

Con­trol­ling your men­tal out­look is no New Age gim­mick, nor a call to aban­don con­crete goals. You can be a pos­i­tive per­fec­tion­ist. Em­i­nent Ger­man psy­chol­o­gists Arne Di­et­rich and Oliver Stoll re­cently pub­lished stud­ies that show how per­fec­tion­ism falls into two cat­e­gories. Pos­i­tive-striv­ing per­fec­tion­ism leads you to set high stan­dards for your per­for­mance and helps you achieve your goals. Self-crit­i­cal per­fec­tion­ism, on the other hand, leaves you in a state of con­stant worry

THE CHAL­LENGE Run­ners are nat­u­rally com­pet­i­tive – we use stats to re­as­sure our­selves. It is dif­fi­cult to ac­cept the rel­a­tiv­ity of our per­for­mances and re­frame our per­spec­tive. Plus, some

days run­ning doesn’t feel good, and pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy can feel like a load of youknow-what.

THE RISK You may sound like a flower child to your bud­dies.

and dis­ap­point­ment, and is cor­re­lated with anx­i­ety, stress and de­pres­sion. De­spite all their at­ten­tion to de­tail, the re­search found, self-crit­i­cal per­fec­tion­ists were less likely to achieve their goals be­cause any mi­nor set­back was seen as de­feat.

This is one rea­son why the abil­ity to ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning as an au­totelic ex­pe­ri­ence (one that's en­joyed for its own sake) may be the key to run­ning faster. Putting in more miles, do­ing qual­ity work and ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent ses­sions be­come re­wards, not chores, when plea­sure is found in the act it­self. That doesn’t mean ev­ery mile will be won­der­ful, says Good­man. But if you take a mo­ment, even in the mid­dle of a rag­ing down­pour, to re­mind your­self how for­tu­nate you are to be run­ning in the first place, then you’re more likely to ap­pre­ci­ate the process.

‘We can’t change an ex­pe­ri­ence,’ says Cata­lano. ‘But we can change how we ex­pe­ri­ence that ex­pe­ri­ence. You can let those dark voices over­whelm you and have a bad day, or you can make the voices fo­cus on the good stuff, and it turns out to be a great day.’

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