Benefit of the Bargain: Making Deals with Yourself on the Run

A couple of days ago, I set out on an easy five mile run. The planned course was two laps of a two-and-a-half mile loop around a small lake.

About a half mile into my run, I felt a tightness in my left calf. I felt the urge to stop. But knowing myself, I knew that it would take another mile or two for the tightness to loosen up – if that’s all it was. I reasoned with myself that if I still felt pain at the end of my first lap, I would stop, stretch and go home.

At the halfway point, I still felt the tightness, so I stopped to stretch. After I stretched, I did my usual post-run routine of dips on a park bench, some lunges and squats. Then, something remarkable happened: I didn’t feel the tightness anymore.

I commenced lap two. I finished my five mile run feeling energized and light.

There are so many different ways that you can make deals with yourself while running:

If I PR at this Half, I’ll buy myself a new handbag.

If I run ten miles this morning, I can stop for a bagel on the way home.

If I can just get through this run I will feel more confident and ready to face the day.

That was the deal that I made with myself. And guess what? My self kept her end of the bargain.

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