When I think back to my biggest running accomplishments, I remember the endless barrage of doubts that I had to push through to make each impossible, possible. From the first time I ran 3 miles without having to stop to walk to the first time I broke 4 hours in the marathon, the road to my personal best has been laden with insecurities, uncertainty and an overwhelming lack of faith. Even today, I find myself justifying doubts or holding myself back when my training to qualify for the Boston Marathon gets difficult.
One of my favorite parts about running is that even though running is difficult and out of my comfort zone, it’s not impossible. I used to wait patiently for the day that running would get easier. But running never actually got easier, I just got stronger both mentally and physically. I’m used to giving up when the going gets tough and running taught me that even though giving up is always an option, so is going forward.
There’s something about striving to put your strongest foot forward in the face of paralyzing doubt that reminds you that anything is possible if you’re willing to work for it and if you want it badly enough. Running isn’t about running as fast as you possibly can, it’s about the pursuit of your personal best. It’s about pushing yourself through a difficult run and experiencing a tidal wave of pride and accomplishment. Or shutting down the little voice in the back of your head that tells you that you can’t do it.
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I used to believe that in order to be a runner, you had to be born a runner. I didn’t think that running was something I’d ever be able to do and I certainly didn’t believe that I’d ever be able to have fun doing it. Today I know that running isn’t impossible, it just isn’t easy. That yes, while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. There will always be doubt. There will always be moments when you will struggle to find the motivation to keep going. But it’s in those moments that you need to remember that you’re capable of anything. That you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for and sometimes the hardest thing to do is to simply believing in yourself.
My biggest regret is spending years doubting myself. I wish I could go back in time and replace every “This is impossible” with an, “I don’t know if I can do this, but I’m sure as hell going to try.” It’s hard to share my intimidating goals because I’m afraid of failing or falling short. I used think it would be easier to keep my goals in the back of my mind and hope that they miraculously happened. But there’s no easy or safe road to your personal best. You have to commit 100% and remember that even if you find yourself doubting your strength and your ability, or if you fall short the first, second, or sixth time, you have to keep fighting. The only way you’ll fail is if you fail to try. Dare to push your limits and get uncomfortable. You just have to believe in yourself.
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Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.