I Get to Run Today

How a simple reframing exercise helps get me out the door

“A woman wearing a red sweater and sneakers walking with her hands on top of her head down a path during fall in West Sussex” by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

Running isn’t always easy. Readers of Runner’s Life know this. Running can be challenging in the moment in the same way that maintaining consistency in running over weeks, months, and even years can be its own challenge.

Setting goals for specific races or running adventures are tremendously motivating. The training plans the help us achieve those goals help us maintain consistency and ultimately become stronger runners.

We get a lot of satisfaction out of training for a goal race:

  • the satisfaction of accomplishing small goals while chasing big ones;
  • the satisfaction of preparing for something to the best of our ability;
  • the satisfaction of working towards a long-term goal;
  • and the satisfaction of routine and consistency.

Despite this, running consistently to keep in line with your training plan can sometimes feel like a grind.

I am two weeks into a new training plan that will get me in shape for my fall goal race, my first 50k. The race distance and therefore training plan covers more miles than I have in the past. The training plan is more comprehensive, including strength, hill and speed workouts — all areas in which I am still a novice.

I am excited to tackle this new goal and know that consistent training is key to my success in October. I’m only two weeks in, so I’m still in the “honeymoon phase” of training. It all feels new and exciting.

But in a few months, when push comes to shove, when I’m tired, when the miles get longer, and the training becomes more mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing, what will I tell myself to help me get out the door?

In the past, I have used a simple reframing technique to remind myself that running is a privilege. Running is special. My ability to get out the door and go for a run should never be taken for granted.

Whenever I notice myself thinking, “do I have to run today?” or telling a friend, “I can’t, I have to run today”, I stop,

take a breath,

and say, “no,

I don’t have to run today, I get to run today.”

One word can make all the difference in your perspective on a challenge.

It’s true — I don’t have to run today, or any day. Life will go on if I do not go on a run today. The world will not stop if I don’t lace up and get out there on the trails.

But, I choose to run today.

I choose to run because conscious movement of the body is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I remind myself that not everyone can run.

Not everyone has the strong, capable body that I have to be able to run long distances, and I need to be grateful for mine.

Not everyone has the time or freedom to spend hours running every week like I do, and I need to be grateful for mine.

Not everyone has the support from a community of family and friends to pursue running goals, and I need to be grateful for mine.

Not everyone has access to expendable funds to support running adventures, gear, and travel, and I need to be grateful for mine.

A simple shift in perspective can make all the difference in helping you get out the door.

The next time your training runs seems daunting and you are struggling to get yourself out the door, remember,

you don’t have to run today, you get to run.

Then, lace up, and get it done.