I can remember (too many times to count) when I’d finish a run where I didn’t hit any of the paces or never found a good flow. And I would be such a grump the rest of my day. My husband joked one time that maybe I shouldn’t run if it was going to make me so angry.
That is basically the opposite of a growth mindset.
I had no grace for myself. I thought every run was going to feel at least decent and that I would be able to do every workout – I had always been able to finish every workout class I’d done or session with a trainer. Why would a running workout be any different?
But it was.
What is a Growth Mindset?
Growth mindset is the idea that your mind isn’t a fixed or set thing. It is constantly evolving and changing. Although there are things one person may be more individually gifted at, say running, anyone can become better at running.
Someone with a growth mindset believes they can get better and mistakes are learning experiences as opposed to someone with a fixed mindset who believes that things just are the way they are. If you struggle with running, it’s just the way it is. If you aren’t good with details, you can’t get better, it’s just the way it is.
On paper, I believed in a growth mindset. I had a masters in teaching – of course I believed in a growth mindset!
But in reality, I struggled with my own actions and beliefs showing and indicating a growth mindset. I actually still struggle with this, but getting so much better.
Growth Mindset and Running
So other than some of us *me cough couch* throwing tantrums after bad runs, what does running have to do with a growth mindset?
Actually, a whole lot.
A Fixed Mindset Runner
A runner who has a fixed mindset is going to believe that whatever running level they were when they started out is just what it is. They are going to continue to run similar paces. They may try some speed work or increase distance over time, but they won’t try anything that seems “too hard” or that’s too far out of anything they’ve done in the past. There’s nothing really wrong with this. Other than that you may get bored or frustrated with training not showing improvement.
A Growth Mindset Runner
A runner who has a growth mindset believes that they have where they started and there’s where they want to go – not only where they want to go, but they believe they can get there with the right combination of growth and learning. A runner with a growth mindset is going to tackle workouts that may seem impossible just to see what they can learn. They are going to try new training plans, new groups, and new experiences for the change to see how it helps them grow. This runner may have workouts blow-up in their face, but they will also see more growth over time because they’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t in their training.
How to Have a Growth Mindset
Are you realizing you may fall in the fixed mindset category? Don’t feel bad – I started this blog with my story because that’s how I started too. And some days, I still feel myself falling into the fixed mindset trap! It’s hard to rewire your thoughts. But the good thing is, we have anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 changes a day with each thought we have.
So, how do you start to change?
Embrace where you’re at. If you’re going to deny your fixed mindset and not try to change, stop reading these steps now, it’s a waste of our time :)
Mantras: See this post and check out the free downloadable mantra cards. Read them out loud before every run.
Reflect: active reflection has been hugely helpful for me. Instead of just saying, “that run was crap” and stewing, I actively reflect on the run and what else is going on in my life. Here are a few questions I ask myself:
What’s my sleep been like?
How’s nutrition been?
Am I stressed? What about?
Usually by answering these questions I can point to why a run was bad. Then I focus on fixing the underlying issue.
Gratitude: are you sick of hearing about gratitude lately? I know it’s a buzz word right now, but honestly, finding something about my run to be grateful for has been another huge help on my journey. Often, I’m grateful for 30 minutes or an hour that is all to myself without being needed by anyone. But whatever it may be, find something in your run to be grateful for.
Build the habits. It’s a lot easier to feel growth and try something new if you’re not also using mental energy to convince yourself to get up and go for a run or do the workout.
Do the workout. Even when you don’t want to. Even if it’s hard. Flexing that muscle builds a growth mindset in and of itself. When you do hard things in one arena of life, it’s a lot easier to do it in the other parts too!
Introducing, Mindset Month: Best Run Year Ever
Are you ready to start getting strong for a race?
Do you know you need to work on mindset before your race, but you aren’t sure where to start?
Do you have big goals for your running and fitness and want accountability and support to get there?
Join the Best Run Year Ever with our April focus on Mindset!
A monthly call with an expert - this month it’s a sports psychologist
Weekly run coach Q&A
Weekly nutrition & tips
Plus a year worth of strength training streaming workouts, live strength classes, base building run schedules, and race distance training plans. Valued at over $1,000 per month for a fraction of the cost!
This is for you if:
You are good at following a plan, but aren’t sure what step to take next
You can feel the burnout from training creeping in and want to avoid it
It would be awesome if your training made you feel confident on race day
You want to believe in your running and trust the process
You are so excited for race day but you just aren’t sure what your training should look like to feel strong both on race day and everyday.
We plan it all out for you so you can pick and choose what you need!
Using the amazing updated version of the 21 Day Fix by Autumn Calabrese for the strength part. The run workouts and the modified scheduled for runners is created by me, a certified run coach with 4+ years experience coaching hundreds of women to their running goals! Check out more about the workout:
What we teach:
Running more miles is not always the solution
Consistency can look different during different phases of training
Treat yourself as an athlete - training is more than running and includes strength training and nutrition
Comparison will get you nowhere. Train where you’re at and trust the process