Mental toughness, Passion and Off Running

As of today, I have been off running for 9 days. I have not run since I bonked last weekend and although I feel recovered in regard to my immune system, I developed pain on the side of my foot that has prevented me from resuming my training.

If you had told me this was going to happen a few weeks ago, I would have freaked out a bit. I have racing plans for gosh sake! I have been doing workouts on the track, long runs and getting ready for fall racing.

After the bonk, I new I needed to take a small step back. I stopped the heart pounding runs and let myself recover. I felt a soreness in my foot that day, which turned into a legit pain the next day. It was kind of uncomfortable to walk, but I have an on your feet job so resting was hard. I iced twice and took pain reliever but you know, nothing works as well as just getting off my damn foot.

I figured it would take a few days for my foot to feel back to normal, but here I am a week and a half later still refraining from pounding the pavement. It does not hurt anymore, but I feel a niggle when I try to jog.

I’m not pushing it.

When I run for long periods of time, not running or thinking about not running triggers sadness and some anxiety. This anxiety is related to the “what should I do with my time?” Rather than losing identity as a runner or losing fitness. My fitness is fluid. I am losing specific running fitness, but I’m not unfit in a traditional sense.

The first few days of not running were ok mostly because I was still recovering from bonking. After that, when I felt fine again but my foot was sore, my mental prowess started to wane. I mean, I just love getting out there and moving my body. I’m used to running and it’s not new or that challenging.

I felt like I lost my passion.


It was then I needed some mental toughness. This same mental toughness that I use to get through long runs or workouts was necessary to help process this season of not logging miles.

How did I process this?

I let myself feel crappy about it.

I changed my racing plans in case I can’t run.

I focused on saving energy for the busy shifts at work.

I looked for other things to do instead.

What am I doing instead?

I am trying to create higher quality content for my blog and brand.

I am taking tutorials on how to work social media platforms and watching seminars from the smartest women in my blogosphere to learn how to make my content better.

I started lifting weights.

I joined other communities that aren’t running focused.

I’m taking more time to cook for myself.

I opened up other things in my life that fill me up in the same way running did.

I am not done running, never will I stop doing that, but I’ve taken this time off in stride rather than let it fuel my misery.

When I decided to take a running break, I went back to my gym to start my membership back up. When I started talking to the woman at the desk, she mentioned that they were looking for people to work the desk. Call it divine intervention, but it had been on my mind recently about getting a different job apart from CTB. Not only is it exhausting, but I think it’s a reason my foot is taking longer to heal. It’s hard to rest an injury when you use it all the time.

So, I applied. Who knows if I’ll get it, but I have my (injured) foot in the door. Who knows what connections this could make?

Life goes on even when running doesn’t. I have defined my identity before as a runner, and I still believe that. However, when running gets disrupted, it creates opportunity to explore other creative outlets in my life.

Running will always be there, right now, I’m focusing on other things. My passion isn’t lost, it’s channeled in a different direction.

#Running will always be there. #mentaltoughness #tol Click To Tweet

What is your passion?

What do you channel your energy into when you can’t do it?

Who likes lifting weights?!

39 thoughts on “Mental toughness, Passion and Off Running”

  1. First a quick note you are in today’s blog!! But second I think there is a lot to be said for learning when we need to just keep pushing and when we need to step back, both take a kind of mental toughness!! Good for you on listening to your brain and body.

  2. YES, I love that you are channeling it into positive learning experiences and learning about things that you wouldn’t otherwise be doing if you were running as much. My passion is helping other girls to really realize that true beauty is that of the heart and to share the love of God with them, the grace and power of Jesus, and to listen to them and learn about them as living, precious souls. Let us know if you get the job at the gym! I’m praying for you sister!

  3. This is a great attitude. I’m glad you’re not dwelling on it. Maybe you just needed a break to find other things you love and your bonk was the thing that pushed you over! Hang in there, lady!

  4. I really love this, Ellie. I think it’s so important for people to realize that true identity isn’t so much tied to what we do, but how we do it. With passion. With love. With die-hard determination. With consideration. With a desire to help. Those are the qualities that make us who we are, which we can then apply to whatever it is that we’re doing. I’m glad you found other things to channel your passion into while you heal up, and I hope you feel better soon!

    1. Thank you Amanda! There are SO MANY parts to each of us. I think that the qualities that we have tied to our identity come through more profoundly at different times. Sometimes it’s fitness, sometimes it’s creativity, other times, career or family. Each has it’s time.

  5. I have to say I’m in awe of you. I’ve lost my mobility through a progressive connective tissue disease, and I’ve honestly struggled in coping with it (far more than I should). I think I missed that first step of letting myself feel crappy about it, and then moving on from there. I tried to simply cope for years as though it’s okay, rather than accept it’s heartbreaking, but I still have more to give in other ways. Good reminder and fingers crossed for you with the job if it’s meant to be! Xo.

    1. Thank you Melissa! I am so heartbroken to hear about your condition, but you’re right, you have so much to give. I’ll keep you in my prayers, God works in amazing ways and you have much more experience after going through this. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  6. I hope you get the job! I think a change of environment is just what we need sometimes. I know some people have exercise “seasons” where they focus on a different type of exercise each season. It can help from getting burned out!

    1. I like that a lot Kate. I feel like the summer is more a cardio and running season for people, then when it gets cold people head inside to take classes at the gym or lift weights. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  7. I’ve been going through a similar situation and it’s a humbling experience. I’m approaching it as a “season” in my life too, and embracing other ways to move my body (including lots of rest) and express myself. Writing helps! So does weight lifting, which I’ve come to enjoy. I had a forced three month break from running last year due to a full blown injury, so I’m grateful that I know well enough to listen to my body now. We’ll both be back stronger 🙂 Fingers crossed for the job!

  8. I hope this job is the one for you! Running breaks are good. They’re hard but needed, especially if you’re injured! I took a whole half year or so off of running just to give my body a break and try other stuff. It was hard, but I actually strengthened my relationship with running…the whole distance makes the heart grow fonder thing. Hope this break from running makes you feel refreshed rather than anxious 🙂

      1. Hopefully that will be a blog post in the future! I just need to muster up the courage to put it all into words. I might shoot you an email sometime and talk a little about it too 🙂

  9. I think it’s so powerful to take a break from running because we learn so much about ourselves. You seem to have a great outlook on it – find some other passions and take that time to put it towards something else you enjoy or discover something else you enjoy 🙂 I go through phases with lifting weights. I really love kettlebells and feel untouchable after a good weight workout!

  10. Love this! So glad you are giving yourself the break that you need – from my own experiences I know that it has always paid off for me in the long run (no pun intended)! I currently haven’t run in.. like.. a month. So I’m going through a similar thing too!

    1. It really is Kristy. It gives me time to think about other things…like remembering I shouldn’t be eating as much gluten as I do =P I forget until about a half hour after a meal when I’m on the toilet hahahha

  11. Love this post. I think it is so key that you realized you haven’t lost your passion for running, you are simply channeling it into other things. I think, as an athlete myself, that is 100% REQUIRED in order to be a healthy, well-rounded athlete. It not only keeps you fueled but also keeps that fire ignited. You will get back to running when you are ready but until then, enjoy those weights! 😉

  12. I resonate with this so much Ellie, so it has been wonderful to read how clearly someone else understands. When I don’t exercise, like you said, I also get sad and anxious. And again like you, this sadness comes from a sense of “what will I do with my time?” It feels scary and sad and It takes a lot of effort , trust and work to find out those other things that can fill your time and your spirit in the same way. I am inspired by how you are dealing with this running break and how conscience you are of what you need to do for yourself. Thank you.

  13. I think you have found great ways to fill your time. I remind myself that my identity is a child of God, and I am not defined by the workouts I do or the foods I eat.

    And I love lifting weights. I find it to be so empowering! I hope you have a relaxing and fun weekend Ellie!

  14. Very great attitude and maybe you just needed a positive break to re-align your passion. I’ve been there and maybe be facing one after training for marathon for so many months! I can see getting into a negative cycle of over-training and burning out trying to stick to a training schedule and balance life easily for me.

  15. What a great post. It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in running that we forget there is so much other stuff in the world. Focusing on what we can’t do never does anyone any good. Glad you are making the most out of the situation.

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