Using endurance events to improve habits, rewire faulty/distorted/negative thoughts, and opportunity to create habits that better serve you

Your anxiety is lying to you.

Creating change through doing a long event like Badwater 267 VR (and the elite version), occupies time I’d normally use on writing blogs, marketing, and cleaning the house. It is time consuming. Taking time away, not 100% of my time, however, is challenging me in a way that some of us wouldn’t think we’d be challenged because it’s a running race. We think we’d be more focused on the race itself. I’m 20 days and over 160 miles into this virtual race and I’m beginning to need to challenge my faulty, distorted, negative and anxious thoughts.

My thoughts are usually anxious and tell me that I “should” and “need” to be doing a, b, c in order to x, y, z. I should be cleaning my house for next week when my daughter’s occupational and physical therapists come. I need to write a blog for my mindset coaching business this week, otherwise I won’t be successful and people will unsubscribe because I’m inconsistent. – Thoughts like those.

Doing an event that requires daily mileage throughout the month of January turns me towards working on myself and my thoughts. It challenges anxious beliefs. Thoughts are thoughts, not facts. Anxious thoughts are usually what drives me to be high-performing and high-functioning. – anxiety can also do the opposite to us, bringing us to a low and potentially lead to depression. Currently, this isn’t my case. I’m an extremely hard worker (taught by my parents). I almost find myself striving for perfectionism. I feel a need to complete all of the items on a daily checklist, otherwise everything will go wrong and fall apart. I take on more than I can handle and usually end up almost burning out, which teaches me to recognize when I’m doing too much (led by anxiety), so I slow down and do self-care. I like my “safe-feeling” routine, I don’t like when it’s interrupted and feels like I’m inconvenienced (I may feel inconvenienced by small things like milk accidentally being spilled on the table. I try to rigidly stick to my routine and I can be too hard on myself if things stray. All of this is faulty, distorted, negative thinking caused by anxiety.

Let me say that anxiety itself isn’t a bad thing that we should avoid. It’s natural and is what helps keep us safe. It’s a part of survival instinct. When anxiety becomes an issue, it is a big part of our day and can cause us to think and behave in unhealthy ways as I mentioned above. That is when it needs addressed. When it takes too much charge.

It’s clear that breaking up my poor-choice habits led by anxiety a few times per year is the right move to make. I don’t know what event or race I’ll do next to break up my routine, but that’s a further down the road thing. Right now, the Badwater 267 VR is helping me to break up my routine and bad habits of following faulty, distorted, negative, anxious thoughts. This is the time to make change. Be with my thoughts and reframe them. My thoughts can become rewired in a way that better serves me and are healthier.

Doing events like Badwater 267 VR is self-care, which is something I know I lack throughout the week, as I’m busy with many other things. I’m pushed into self-care. Running is self-care, having to make sure I’m eating well and enough is highly important right now. The change of routine is nice. I get to do what I love. All-around, it’s a positive experience and gives me a chance to continue on with the positivity, healthier habits and thoughts after the race. I can look back and remember that nothing really bad happened when my house got dirty, I was able to focus on cleaning it later. My business didn’t fail because I didn’t publish a blog on a specific day.

If you’re reading this and can relate or you’re trying to work on changing habits and thoughts yourself, doing a long event can be a way to work on those processes. Vacation, camping, through-hiking, a multi-day race are my favorite examples. If it changes your environment and changes your schedule for more than a week, then the event is probably just right for doing this. It might take a few days to be able to start looking at thoughts and habits, as I’m really just now feeling overly anxious and ready to be done on day 20. It may take time to notice what’s going on. Change in general takes time, it is gradual. You may need to revisit this approach to changing habits later in the year. Building better habits and rewiring thoughts takes consistent work, but small steps, it’s nothing to worry about, it slowly improves over time. Patience is key.

If you’re interested in creating changes, building healthy habits, managing anxiety, or learning more about this topic, reach out to me. I’d be happy to answer questions and to see how I can support you in your athlete mental wellness goals. If you’re interested in learning about my coaching, visit Finish Stronger Mindset Coaching.

Running means much more to me than maintaining physical health. It’s a way to work on the things that usually tear me down. I can reform habits and thoughts in order to make myself mentally stronger.

It was a cold trail run

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