At least it's not out of bounds.
At least it's not out of bounds.

flickr photo by vladdythephotogeek

I used to play a lot of golf with a group of good friends. I wasn’t very good, but I always had a great time walking up and down the fairways or, more often, searching for my ball in the rough. In between the hazing rituals, small dollar gambling, and the 19th Hole, I found golf to be one of those pursuits in life which both challenges your self-confidence and makes you slow down and examine how to improve your performance. Every time I would hit a couple of good shots, perhaps sink a nice putt and start to feel good about my game, I’d shank the next shot (or two) into the trees lining the course. Very humbling.

Now that I’ve taken up running, I’m glad I experienced the lessons of patience and perseverance golfing affords.

For every few runs where I feel great-eating up miles with what I hope is good form and a perfect stride-I’m going to have a run, (or two) where I have difficulty maintaining a good pace and even a four mile stretch is going to feel like a forced march. But instead of making excuses to stay inside and avoid the shot at my self-esteem a bad running session provides, I use the lessons I learned years ago playing all those rounds of golf-put the last hole behind you and tee it up again. Even if you’re spending a lot of time in the rough, the bunkers, or the water, you’ve got to keep playing and believe your next shot will be better. And believe me it’s a great feeling when you strike that ball just right and it heads straight toward the hole. It’s kind of like a golfer’s high.

Some days your going to feel like you’re Paula Radcliffe or Brian Sell crossing the finish line in first place. And some days your breathing is going to be a little ragged, your knees will send out distress signals, and your lower back will stiffen up. No matter how good you are or how much you’ve trained you’re just going to have running days like that. Don’t let that stop you,though. Put those days behind you and tee it up again.

How do you motivate yourself after a blah run?

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