To Do List: Buy Bananas, Motivate New Runners

It's amazing how a t-shirt and some bananas can kick off a conversation about the ego.
It’s amazing how a t-shirt and some bananas can kick off a conversation about the ego.

I needed bananas, so I stopped by Whole Foods on Tuesday. I thought I’d simply run in, grab what I needed, and get out before being tempted to buying anything else. Instead, I found myself chatting with a woman near the fish counter about her exercise routine. (She noticed my t-shirt—a little black number promoting butt-kicking New York City fitness studio As One.)

When the topic turned to running, she said, “I’d love to be a runner, but I don’t think I can do it.” It’s a typical mental pattern that afflicts runners and non-runners alike. (How many times have you talked yourself out of trying something new?)

That little voice inside of you that says, “But I’ll look stupid,” and asks, “What if I fail?” is your ego—a powerful thing that uses fear to keep you from pounding the pavement. Fear is a pretty darn convincing tactic, but it doesn’t have to stop you. To calm her ego, here’s what I suggested to the woman in grocery store:

Ask yourself three questions Do I believe that I can’t run? Is it really true that I can’t run? Am I going to let these false thoughts hold me back? The answer to all of these should be a resounding, NO! If you can put one foot in front of the other, I promise, you can run.

Acknowledge the fear and go for it The anxiety that you feel before running for the first time is real, and it’s normal. But that shouldn’t hold you back. Just tell your ego, “This is scary, but I’m going to do it anyway.” Say it out loud if it makes you feel good—I do it every time I line up for a road race!

Give yourself a physical out It’s OK to walk when you get tired during a run. In fact, there’s an entire method built around run-then-walk that has been used successfully by thousands of marathon finishers. (Google “running coach Jeff Galloway” for proof.) Plan to run for one minute, walk for two, and then repeat. This will get you (and your ego) started on a healthy new path!

What gets you up and running ? Has your ego ever gotten in the way of your goals?  

My Ego Is A Big Jerk!

This water bottle got all cozy with the milk and bananas because of my ego.

I could have (should have!) gone to a speed workout with AGTC this morning at 5:45am. But I didn’t. And I only have myself to blame.

I had every intention of making it happen. I went to bed early. I remembered to set the alarm—even double-checked it was for a.m., not p.m. But this morning when the clock started bleeping, a negative little voice in my head began to talk…

“You haven’t worked out like this in months,” it said as I climbed out of bed. “You’ll be slower than everyone else,” it whispered to me in the kitchen when I tossed a nuun tablet into my water bottle. “You’ll look stupid coming in last on every sprint,” it shouted while I pulled on a pair of running tights.

That nagging voice wore down my resolve, and sadly I gave in. I tossed my pants back into the closet, put the water bottle in the fridge, and climbed under the covers. And now, I’m annoyed.

Instead of working my butt off with a bunch of like-minded people this morning, I have to go for a run alone. I could have (should have!) had fun working with teammates to push myself harder. I could have (should have!) been done already. But no, I allowed my ego and its fears of looking stupid, being slow, and experiencing pain to prevent myself from doing that.

I’m challenging myself to ignore my ego for the rest of the week.

Do you have any good comebacks for the negative little voice in your head? Has your ego ever held you back?