Simple things I did to change my running mindset

My running mindset has been in the trash can.  I got too comfortable and complacent, leaving me with a weird running mindset.  I’ve never been the runner to win a race, and PRs are far behind me. I’ve been running for a long time. I’m not a fast runner; I’m a fun runner. I enjoy being around people, seeing the sights, and crossing the finish line. (My love for getting a medal has waned over the years, but I appreciate a good quality medal.) I started running in 2012, and I’m a “bit” slower ten years later. Lately, the slowness has got me down. I decided some things needed to change.  

Last year was a growing year for me; Tot started kindergarten, and I was riddled with sickness, a busy life, and some injuries. All of these things led to a place of complacency and just wanting to stay active. I coasted to make excuses for myself and to justify my slower times. At the beginning of 2023, I decided to change my mind and set some goals to work towards.  

Let’s rewind a bit; after having Tot, my body changed a lot, leaving me with some weird running gait. It’s something I’ve been battling for years, and it ebbs and flows when it’s comfortable to run, so I’ve taken my run-walk intervals SERIOUSLY! I decided to give it an honest go and put in the work to see if I could notice any minor changes.

Simple changes to increase my running speed

Why did I decide to make the changes?

Running started to become a drag in my life. I wasn’t enjoying it, and I found myself getting frustrated with myself. I’m long from comparing myself to the person I was at my fastest, but I found myself comparing myself to the most recent years. I didn’t feel as strong or confident in my performance. Running is a stress reliever, but running has become a significant stressor. I had the wrong mindset when it came to running.

What changes did I make?

  1. I made a shift in my workout schedule. I live by a plan, and I like to stick to it. It provides structure in my life. But I got to the point if I missed my workout “time,” I would start to feel the stress. I don’t particularly appreciate working out when Tot is at home, which pressures me to work, work out, and get everything else done during a specific time. Those expectations stressed me out, and I started to hate my workouts. It was time for me to change my mindset of getting my workout done when time allowed.  
  2. Running is only one of my workouts. I love running, but looking at it as a “workout” killed my running vibe. Running is my favorite way to move my body, and I should enjoy my time with it. Also, I wanted to have the freedom not to run if I wasn’t feeling it. There have been so many times when I didn’t want to run or needed to reschedule a run and had feelings of guilt. 
  3. I added consistent speed workouts that my body could handle. I’ve worked with a running coach, so I have a list of workouts that work for me. I recommend working with a running coach for one training cycle, so you can find the things that work for you. Yes, you can look up a training plan on the internet, but having workouts tailored to where you are on your running journey is priceless. I’m not in a place to run Yasso 800s (and I never will be), but that doesn’t mean I can’t do speed workouts.
  4. I added 10 minutes to my easy run. I run by minutes, not by miles. (I’ll have to write another blog post on this to explain further.) Instead of saying I will run 45 minutes three times a week + a long run, I varied my running times. It’s a small step, but building endurance is tricky, and it starts with those easy runs, too. Besides, that’s the perfect time to enjoy nature and some good tunes. My easy run time leads to a subpoint of knowing my paces. Easy runs are easy for a reason. Speed workouts are meant to be hard and uncomfortable, which should make us all appreciate our easy runs more. 
  5. I never miss a long run. Even if I wasn’t feeling it, I would always attempt to go out for a long run to do something. But if I needed to readjust the plan while I was out running, then I would. The long run is essential for all the reasons you already know, but most importantly, it’s about time on your feet. It’s about adjusting and listening to what your body needs so your body can serve you.
  6. I varied my workouts. I’m an all-cardio girl. I like to feel like I worked out at the end of every workout, and strength training only sometimes does that for me. Yoga and I have yet to mix well in the past. But I needed to make some changes to make sure I was balancing my training for optimal success. I joined HotWorx to get in all those workouts I was avoiding, and I leave with that cardio feeling because I’m working out in a hot box! Once I started going consistently, I noticed a significant uptick in my running because I built more muscular core strength.

In January, I ran The Louisiana Marathon half marathon; it was my slowest time. I finished my half at 3:19:45 and was happy with the time, but I knew I could do better. The weather conditions were optimal for a better time, and this race previously has been the benchmark pace for the entire running year. That’s when my mindset started to change. Fast forward to March, I ran The Woodlands Marathon half marathon at 3:09:25, 10 minutes faster, and I felt strong the entire race. Yes, the time reflected something quicker, but how I felt while running and after finishing is what is most important.  

These subtle changes to my mindset and training have pushed me toward wanting to set and achieve future running goals. This is a reminder that if you don’t like something or aren’t satisfied, there are small things you can do that will make a big difference. Don’t give up or get complacent because change will come.