Mentality of a Runner

The mind is a funny thing. I think it is especially true to runners, at least for me. It seems no matter how many races I run, I always wonder if I will finish this one. Keep in mind I have never not finished a race. Not with a torn meniscus during a marathon. Not with running a half marathon without training for it, after not running for almost 16 months prior because of the torn meniscus. No, I did not have surgery. I believe God healed it because I can run still. You can read about it here:

The worse part of all of it is my mind is stronger than my body at this point. I get frustrated because I’m not where I think I should be. Of course it seems like it’s one injury after another. All these little nagging things. I wasn’t injured for 43 years then the last 3 years is killing me.  I don’t think I will know what it will feel like to run at 100%, if I ever get there. One day I feel good and go out and run 2 miles at 7:18 pace. Next day I go out and do 10 miles at 8:00 pace. I start to think I am almost back to where I was. Then a few days later I go out to run 10 with my wife and can’t do 2 miles without stopping.  My mind wanted me to go but my body wasn’t cooperating. Can you say frustrating?

I won’t give up. I may have to stop but I won’t give up. I have to keep telling myself it has only been 3 months since I have been able to run good at 20 miles per week. Rome wasn’t built in a day but my mind says you have done this a million times, why are you struggling?

Part of me says stop until you are 100% and other parts of me say keep going, it will slowly get better.

I have been doing some cross training just to do something on days when I can’t run. Here is another part of how the mind works. I do box jumps and can do all three heights: 20″, 24″ and 30″. No matter how many times I do them, my first attempt I hesitate. At the 20″ height even. It’s like you can do this, you have done this many times but the mind says wait a minute here, think about this, can you do it?  Once I get the first jump in the mind switches to how many times can you do it?


Here is another kicker. I try to out-think myself during races. If I say I want to beat a certain time, I usually don’t. If I tell myself I don’t care how I do, I do awesome. My two fastest times are when I didn’t care how I did. So why don’t I go into every race saying I don’t care how I do? Good question.

Then for most of the longer races I run there are pacers. If you are not familiar these are runners that hold up a little sign with the time they will finish. The most comfortable races I have ever felt is when I got with the group I wanted to finish with and stayed there. Until I start to out-think the pacer and tell myself this is too slow. What are they going to do, sprint the last mile to make up the difference? They can’t be right at this pace. Let me tell you, they are right. One half marathon, the first I ran with a pacer, I felt good for 7 miles then decided the pacer was going to slow and I took off, only to have the same group pass me at mile 12 and I finished behind them.

The other time I ran with pacers was the first marathon I did. My wife and I ran with the 3:45 group and we were rocking  it. After 15 miles I was telling my wife this feels easy. Then she had to use the bathroom and I tore my meniscus and well, now I am where I am now.

I have found running with a pacer takes my mind out of it, which is a good thing. Why don’t I run with pacers all the time? Another good question.

I know I am mentally strong. I finish what I start. I don’t think a lot of people would be doing what I am doing with the injuries I have. Maybe I am just stupid. If I could just get my mind to heal my body… in God’s time and in His will to do so. I wait patiently, sometimes. Other times, c’mon, heal me so I can run. There is something for me to learn in all this.

It is also like that in my walk with Jesus. Some days the devil take my mind and put thoughts in my head like you will never get back to 100%. Here we go again, another frustrating day, just give it up.


Jesus  takes my mind and washes it new. He reminds me He died for me. He tells me I can do it. I can do all things through Him.

Bad things happen, bad days happen. You have to have the mentality to get back up, brush yourself off and get back on the right track. Jesus is with you. Never ever give up.

We Won’t Give Up by The Afters –  

Running In The Rain – Motivational – 

Never Give Up – Motivational –  

It’s Possible – Motivational – 

Rise and Shine – Motivational – 

Running With God – Motivational – 

Champion by Nelly – 

I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz –  

Don’t Give Up by White Lion – 

We Will Never Give Up by Sanctus Real –  



2 thoughts on “Mentality of a Runner

  1. The most important thing I do before every race is invite God along with me, so I know that regardless of what happens, I am in the best company, which in turn, no matter what, I smile when I cross that finish line because it was his will and my stubbornness that got me through. Keep the faith, keep working hard, and remain patient and positive. It’ll happen in His time, not yours. In the meantime, don’t ever give into the negative thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

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