This is an odd time for us runners. Races are cancelled. Group runs are off. Many of us have drastically cut down (if not entirely cut out) our running.
But even if we are temporarily sidelined from running, we are still runners.
So what can runners do while not running (at least as often, or as far)?
First and foremost, we can stay active – focusing on strength and mobility – the stuff that is easily forgotten or shortchanged in our ‘regular’ running lives.
But that’s a topic for a different post.
Why Do You Run?
When I started drafting this post it was going to be more along the lines of ‘Why We Run.’ But the more I worked on the draft, the more I realized it really wasn’t working for me.
I’ve written before about why I run and my thoughts on running. I don’t have enough new insights to blather on about me. And there is no way I could list all the possible reasons people run.
The reasons people run are as varied as the people themselves.
Why Are You A Runner?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized this is the time for us all to consider why we run and who we are as runners.
To take some time to consider running and the role it plays in our physical and mental lives.
Some of us may not know why we run.
Others may have lost touch with their why somewhere along the way.
For me, figuring out the why of anything means one thing – journalling!
I joke about it, but it’s true – I often don’t know what I think about something until I’ve journaled about it for a bit.
Why would running be any different?
Running Journal Prompts
Choose a prompt that catches your eye, pick up a pen and a journal (or a digital journalling app – whatever works for you), maybe a tasty beverage of your choice, and write stream of consciousness for 10 or 15 minutes.
Don’t think about what you are writing.
Don’t worry about (or try to correct) grammar or spelling errors.
Don’t judge your writing or judge yourself for what you are writing.
Just write and see what you uncover.
Your Early Days
- Why did you start running?
- What are your earliest memories about running?
- How did you view running and fitness as a child? How do these opinions or experiences impact your running or how you view what you are capable of today?
You As A Runner
- What does it mean to you to ‘be a runner’?
- When did you first consider yourself ‘a runner’?
- Do you consider yourself a runner or a person who runs? In other words, do you consider running part of your identity, or a thing you do?
- Do you have a running role model? How have they influenced you?
- What do you like and dislike most about yourself as a runner?
- What expectations and demands do you place on yourself relating to running or your health and fitness? Are those expectations fair and realistic given your genetics, your physical limitations, and your life’s other demands?
- Why do you run?
- What do you get out of running, mentally and physically?
- What do you enjoy most about running?
- What does having running in your life mean to you?
- Describe your perfect run.
- What stories do you tell yourself about your running, racing or fitness? What long-held (but untested) views impact what you try to do today?
- What do you consider a success in running?
- What part of running do you wish you were better at? How can you work to get better?
Running and Racing
- How do races fit into your running (if at all)?
- If you could never run another race, would you still continue to run?
Your Running Goals
- What do you want to accomplish as a runner?
- What are your bucket list running experiences and races?
- How do you prioritize your running goals?
- What is your biggest running priority right now?
- Consider your running goal. Write about it as if you’ve already achieved it, for example, “I have just crossed the finish line of my first marathon…”
- What running stories do you tell over and over?
- What are your favorite running and racing memories?
- What are your most vivid running and racing memories?
- Sometimes the most memorable moments are often the smallest. Consider 5 tiny moments that have changed your running.
- Think about the period of your life for which you have the greatest nostalgia. Why do you think you are so nostalgic about it? What elements could you revive in your life now?
- When have you really impressed yourself?
- Where were you this time last year / 5 years ago / 10 years ago? What has changed? What can you do now that you couldn’t do then?
‘Success’ and ‘Failure’
- Consider a terrible run or a terrible race you’ve had. What did you learn from this that you wouldn’t have otherwise learned? What is (at least one) positive take-away from this terrible run?
- Do you believe this statement can be true? Why or why not: “Some days, doing poorly is the most important result that could happen.”
- Think about your regrets and negative self-beliefs. Write about them. What is (at least) one positive thing from each of these negative experiences in your life?
- What mistake or failure are you grateful for?
- What do you usually say to yourself when you fail at something? How can you make this self-talk more productive?
- Write about your most frequent reasons for procrastination or common excuses for not running or eating right. What can you do to overcome those excuses?
Running and Motivation
- What inspires you?
- What motivates you?
- What do you find discouraging or demotivating?
- Recall some of the best advice you’ve ever received.
- What advice or pep talk would you like to give yourself? Write the words you need to hear.
Running and Gratitude
- What are you grateful for?
- What positive, useful, or helpful things in your life are you taking for granted?
- Open your phone and find a photo you like. Why are you grateful for this photo? Who and what are you grateful for in the photo?
Running And Body Image
- How has running impacted your view of your body or your self-confidence?
- “I am grateful for my body because…”
- “I am awesome because…”
- Describe how you see yourself in 10 words. Describe how you think others see you in 10 words. Describe how you wish others saw you in 10 words. Compare the lists. What changes can you make to bring these lists closer together?
- Write about something you know you can do better than most people
- What areas of yourself could be improved? How can you go about improving yourself?
- What do you like the most about yourself?
Running and Your Real Life
- What have you learned from running that you’ve used in other parts of your life?
- What has running brought into your life that you otherwise wouldn’t have had?
- What do you value?
- What are 25 things that make you smile? Be sure to encounter (at least) one of these things daily.
- What things do you regularly do that you don’t enjoy doing?
- What things do you like to do but that you don’t do very often?