I am not a runner but for the third year in a row I am running the St. Jude Half Marathon. Since I am not a runner, why would I do that you might ask?! I ask myself that as well…. I could say, I do it for the kids (and while I absolutely believe in the cause) I would be telling you a lie if I said that was my reason.
It’s a challenge. It is a mental and physical challenge and one of the greatest ones for me. Race day is very exciting and thousands of people are amped at the start line and ready to go. For me, all is great until about mile 7, then the ‘why did I do this to myself again’ permeates my brain. From mile 7-13.1 it becomes a brain battle. The biggest reason is the fact that I don’t train for it, I just show up and do it. CrossFit has conditioned me so well over the years that I can do about a 6-7 mile race with little to no problem, anything over that becomes a grind…a very intense grind. I know, it’s my own fault.
This Year is Different
When I signed up for the St. Jude Half this year, I decided it would be different. I decided to actually train. Novel idea, right? Well, in my mind, I am not a runner, I am a CrossFitter, a 100% CrossFitter, and why would a non runner (CrossFitter) run? So, I decided to fake it. I mentally fake the fact that I am a runner. This came about during a long run one day. A few weeks back during a 5+ mile training run, my mental narrative became this: “you are not a runner, what are you doing?”, “you are a CrossFitter and we only run 400s”, “this is stupid”, “running is stupid”, “you body is going to be sooo pissed at you”. Sound familiar? Well, my head was not wrong, my mindset was.
How To Fake It
By changing the narrative in my head, I changed how I felt about the long runs. “I am a runner and this is part of training”, became the mental discussion. “To run a successful 1/2 marathon, we must bare this minor discomfort.” In order for me to feel less defeated in my runs, I need my head to convey confidence. The best way for me to convey that confidence is to pretend to be a runner. Convey confidence in my head and my body will respond in kind. Sound crazy? Runners ARE crazy!
The all encompassing benefit of “faking it till you make it” comes down to the impact it has on our personal expectations. When we fake confidence we automatically create more positive expectations about what we are capable of doing in that particular situation. This will make us automatically more resourceful (in that situation). We are no longer at the whim of our critical voice tossing us into all doubts. Instead we take the wheel and become more in control of our expectations.
I have actually used this ‘pretend’ situation a couple of times. Most recently during a local CrossFit competition. We had a number of reps to do overhead at 95#, which is a heavy weight overhead for me and I knew I would struggle. While I can’t fake being stronger, I can fake that it wouldn’t be that big of a challenge. Was it difficult, hell yes, but by changing the narrative in my head, my fear dissolved and I was able to get the most out of myself…. and that’s all we’re really striving for!
Implement the Fake It Way
The next time you are up against a challenge, whether it is work related, mental, physical or relationally, enact the ‘fake it’ challenge. You’ll be surprise how much confidence that you will create for yourself in the moment. Take charge of the narrative that has already been created. Doing so will put yourself in a more favorable position to follow through with the necessary actions to pursue your desired outcome. You are then free to “be” the person you need to “be” in order to achieve your goal.
“I am a runner”