Now, break down this practice even further. Acknowledging a gratitude for our athletic lives changes workout out from being a chore to a conscious, joyful choice. Almost every runner can say that there is a point in the training cycle where they can not bare to get out the door and workout. They feel tired, sore, or slow. They are worried about their upcoming race, or fear that they have not improved. Rarely, there is any validity in these thoughts, but the human condition is one that will search for negativity and fear failure. It is easy to fixate on where we feel we are lacking, ignoring the incredible progress and growth our bodies are achieving.
In her book, “Let Your Mind Run,” author and Olympian Deena Kastor explains the importance of gratitude in training, “The practice of gratitude is one of the more powerful things you can do for your performance and perspective. Giving tribute to the things that bring you joy releases good hormones in your body, but also causes the negativity to fall into your blind spot. The continued practice enforces that you continuously look for items or ideas to write on your list. It really creates a snowball effect of optimism at its most personal. When running is part of your day, the focus is on being grateful for the time to run, the scenery, and your own ability, as opposed to the fatigue you may feel.”
Gratitude is as much of an emotion as it is a learned skill. Like running, it is important to train our brains to look at the work with a positive, and grateful attitude. When initiating this practice yourself, set out with the intention to actually find a gratitude while completing your workout. Try to write down your gratitude as soon as you can after completing the workout, so you do not forget the experience. Begin with only one per workout, but feel free to add more as you get into the habit. Feel free to share your gratitudes with coaches, training partners, or significant others; especially if the gratitude involves them as the feeling of happiness and gratitude is contagious.
What are you grateful for today?
Allan, S. (2018). The Science of Gratitude. The Science of Gratitude. UC Berkley, CA: The Greater Good Science Center.