Be in the present:
Do not think about your run last week, last year, when you used to compete in college, or the one ten years from now. The fact that you are going to go out and run now, is on itself an accomplishment.
Don’t compare yourself:
Don’t compare yourself with the you from your past nor with the other runners around you, nor the ones you know, or the people you follow in Strava. The same as you are not the same runner you were two years ago, you are not the same as the runner next door.
Keep your goals in mind:
Your goals are yours and yours only. The guy or gal who just passed you as if you were standing may be training for the Olympics, you may be running because it is healthier to vent by running than with tequila. Someone else may be training to qualify for Boston, you may be trying to stay away from cholesterol-lowering medication.
Be humble and encouraging to all:
You may be the one passing others. If you can say hi, say hi. If you are on a narrow trail, acknowledge others, and announce your presence when passing. Don’t act as if you own the trail just because you are averaging a seven-minute mile.
Be daring to challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid, be brave and courageous. Of this one, I’m guilty as charged, I often stay away from doing speed work, tempo or strides, because I know it is going to hurt. Change of pace is good, as much as change is good. Have focus while being flexible.
Keep on going:
Once everything is said and done. Find your inner pace and listen to your body and yourself. Learn to recognize when you are tired and you should slow down, but also to realize when you are holding back due to your fear of the unpleasantness that pushing your limits will bring.
There are days in which even before I get my feet out the door, or my running gear out of the cabinet drawer for that matter, I struggle with doubt. Wondering if I’ll be able to go faster than the previous day, or as fast as the season in which I somehow managed to run consistently four to five days a week all season long. In days as such, I must concentrate on remembering that each run is valuable on its own, and has the potential to be enjoyable. On days as such, to get out and run, constitutes the best advice.