Mindfulness Monday: Why Do You Run?

This week marks the start of a new school year for many Florida schools. 

With the new school year, comes a new cross country season. A new season to prove to yourself, to your team, to your coach, to your parents, that you have what it takes. 

A new school year -- a new season -- can mark pressure and "what if" questions. 

Do I have what it takes to be top in my class this year?

What if I don't get the grades that my parents expect of me? 

What if I don't win? 

What if I let my team down? 

These "what if" questions keep you from your goals, they keep you from enjoying the present and learning from your experiences. "What if" questions usually stem from the desire of a result rather than the purpose behind the action. 

What if I don't win? 

In this scenario, winning, is the ultimate result. But, winning is not something that you can control, it's not your purpose -- your "why" behind why you run or why you are a part of the cross country team -- why you wake up and push your body to it's limits day in and day out. 

Winning, good grades, pleasing your parents or your coach, are simply results. Sure, they are good results. Who wouldn't want all three? But to pursue these "results" often leaves you dwelling on "what if" questions distracts you from your goals. 

So, next time you come across a "what if" question in your head during school, practice, maybe a race. Remember: Just RUN

R - Remember Who You Are

Remember the Lion King? Remember when Simba and Mufasa have a heart to heart when Simba contemplates going back to defeat Scar? In that moment, Mufasa encouraged his son with the phrase "Remember who you are." 

These words are so simple and so powerful. Sometimes we forget how strong we are, how smart we are, how capable we are in the pursuit of our goals. When you begin to dwell on your "what if's" remember who you are. Remember how hard you work day in and day out. 

U - Understand Your Why

"What if" questions stem from the pursuit of pure results. While yes, goals are results and it's great to have them as something to eye, results cannot be your own sole motivation. A certain PR or place at the state meet can be a great goal, but it should not be why you choose to run. 

Say your goal is to break X minutes in the 5k this season. What's your why for making that goal? Often our inclination is to say "Oh well my coach, my parent, my team wants me to." 

Find your why and begin to understand it. Maybe you want to break X minutes in the 5k because you love pushing your body to it's limits and you know that if you can work towards breaking X minutes your team has a strong chance of winning the state championship in November. 

Your why is bigger than yourself. This preseason work on finding it, but more importantly understanding it. 

N - Never Surrender

As this new season pushes on and the pressures of everyday life begin to weigh on you and your "what if" questions make their presence known, don't surrender. 

It will feel easy to wave your white flag and believe the thoughts in your head that tell you that you aren't strong enough, that you don't have what it takes. If you remember who you are and understand your why, you have the armor to fight off the "what if" thoughts in your head. 

So, whether it's at mile 2.5 in a race, while you are taking the SAT/ACT, during a hard workout, or during day to day responsibilities, remember who you are, understand your why, and never surrender to the "what if" thoughts in your head.

RUN your race and run it to the best of your ability. 

Happy first week of school Florida! I'm excited to watch you all compete this season. See you on the XC course. 

Your Florida MileSplit Editor, Adair.