You ever run through the pain? I don’t mean have you ever run through physical pain such as having a stitch in your side or raced with a tight hamstring. Have you ever run through what felt like the worst day of your life?

Sucks huh? Emotional pain: Aimlessness, Rejection, Angst, Anger, Guilt, Failure…You ever experienced those feelings before?

How about these: Depression, Disillusionment, Shock, Fatigue, Inadequacy and Guilt. I’m sure you have. No doubt you can run up and down foothills and mountains but can you do it when you’re feeling wrecked?

For those who have not done this before consider this: At some time in life many of us will experience the death of a loved one, a divorce, a separation, a job loss, or some other event that brings forth an emotional injury that feels unending. After experiencing pain from one of these events (maybe it’ a combination of events!) you feel very raw. The body might ache, and perhaps your mind isn’t thinking clearly. Life isn’t fair. In fact there are going to be many times in life when things just don’t go your way.

Maybe you’re going through the crap storm right now and reading this article. This is probably not the time to go binge drinking and on your way to destroy 20,000 calories of pizza, chips, whiskey and cupcakes. It’s also not the time to shut down and stow the feelings away until you Kirk-out on the store attendant or the poor-guy who bumped you at the grocery store.

Stay on plan…

The word dedication describes having a very strong support for or loyalty to someone or something. When things got tough do you knuckle up and straight-up sock the problem in the mouth or do you knuckle under and go whimper in your room?

Seriously…

You need to cope with these feelings and handle the pressure. Life is going to give you stress and adversity. Do everything in your power not to quit. Going out to run is a good way to work on thinking in a specific way to increase your positivity and that’s because there’s going to be a pay-off. Running elicits a flood of endorphins in the brain when you exercise. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Yes, running can make you high. You will alter your mood.

Working out is a good way to get your head clear. Think about that. It’s a good way to take some time away from people and spend some healthy time ruminating.

  1. Here’s what you’re going to do: Grab your shoes. Yes, get those freaking shoes on. You don’t have to go fast and you don’t have to go long but you have to go. You’re going to run until you feel better. That might mean running for a mile or two or longer. I have done many rage filled runs. When I finished the anger was gone…and what I was left with was peace. Running is a way to help you process hurt and pain. If you aren’t in shape to run just yet, then try jogging and if you can’t jog try walking. Get started.
  2. Do some mental exercises. As you run remind yourself how strong and capable you are. Don’t focus on the crap storm you’re going through now; instead focus on your rationale for running-you are running because you’re a fighter and will get over this lousy chain of events. Connect your journey outdoors with a positive thought rather than negative ones; tell yourself that if pain comes it can also go. Connect your feelings to something positive such as a payoff; you are going to get through this and feel awesome. The reality is you are going to feel pain but running is going to help you feel it less.
  3. You ever hear the phrase fake it until you make it? Science backs up this fact that when you pretend to be something you’re not that eventually you believe in what is constructed in your mind. Tell yourself you’re that you’re tough, that you’re a winner, and a fighter. You can tell yourself what an awesome lover and shooter you are too; maybe…
  4. Running is going to force you to breathe differently and force some positive effects on your body. You may feel emotionally overwhelmed at first but when you finish you’ll feel calm and your mind won’t churn with painful thoughts. Breathing is a good way to reduce the chronic tension in your body. Running is a good coping tool to deal with loss and grief.
  5. Running will give you the opportunity to get emotional control over your life. You cannot control the events that transpired but you can control your body and what it does. Make it work for you. Do something that will bring your confidence back. You think downing Grape Ape Jello shots is the way to go? Get out of the bar and away from the Jenever and beerchasers.
  6. Listen to music. Let me rephrase that-don’t listen to sad music like Cat Power or download the 55 Top Sad Songs that Will Make You Cry. Listen to some Viking war drums or something that fires you up. Your choice but make it work for you.
  7. Don’t rush the process. Obsessing is not going to make things better. Listen man, I am not a doctor. (I only play one on t.v.) The views I expressed here are my own. I’m probably qualified to chew gum and tie my shoes but I’ve been through many storms in my nearly 40 years of being a long distance runner. I’ve left out a lot here on the benefits of running and why you should run when you’re feeling kicked around. Get out there and do it. Your future self will thank you for it.

Good luck dudes and dudettes…

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All images of Jordan McDougal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About The Author

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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