Let me start by saying that if you're running with any kind regularity, you're already a badass in my book. Running is hard. If you're struggling to feel like a badass out there, though, try these tips the next time you lace up your running shoes to reap the full emotional rewards of putting one foot in front of the other.
1. Get out of your routine.
If you normally run on a treadmill, take it outside. If you normally run around the park, try hill intervals on a treadmill. Find a parking garage or football stadium to mix it up with some stairs. Not only does your body adjust to the physical demands of repeating the same basic workout over and over again, but your mind can get bored, too. A new challenge is an opportunity for a new accomplishment, and a new accomplishment should always remind you of your badass potential.
2. Use a mantra to connect with your breath and resist the temptation to quit.
If you start out with a plan to run 5 miles, but start negotiating with yourself about dialing those 5 miles back to 3 miles ten minutes into your run, you're not alone. Only you can know for sure if your body is capable of going the full distance, but if you suspect that it's your mind that needs the pep talk in order to stay focused until the finish line, consider incorporating a mantra into your run. I often silently repeat a word like "strength" or "endurance" on every inhale, and a word like "doubt" on every exhale, tapping into the yogic practice of connecting with my breath and using it to set an intention, treating running like a moving meditation.
3. Choose one thing to "PR" in.
A PR, or personal record, is your own gold-medal moment. While many experienced runners strive for PR race times after following rigorous training plans, there's no reason not to aim for tiny PR moments every week. What's one component of your running routine where you suspect you could push yourself a little harder? Can you scale that component down to a bite-size goal? One lap or one minute at your fastest pace, one interval at your highest incline, or one more interval than you've ever done before.
4. Don't underestimate the accomplishment of showing up.
If you're feeling meh about your current running routine, maybe the boost you need is as simple as bringing some context to the situation. The reality of the situation is that it's always a little bit badass to get your legs moving and your heart pumping, because anytime you're running you're making a choice. Maybe you're watching one less episode of reality TV? Waking up one hour earlier? Swapping a leisurely lunch break for a run around the block? Recognize your own power in making the choice to show up.
5. Finish strong.
Even if you take some breaks throughout your run, commit to running the last lap or last minute at a pace that makes you feel strong. If you're out there, pounding those running shoes on the running trail, you're stronger than you're giving yourself credit for.
Maybe you have to work up the enthusiasm to go for a run, or maybe you wake up craving that breathless feeling. Either way, the only requirement to be a badass runner is to simply to run. You don't have to be the fastest or run the farthest; you just have to do it. You're so much more badass than you know.