How To Improve Your Run Without Training

Sun Run 2018. Jarid and I ran with my office, Function Point.

Sun Run 2018. Jarid and I ran with my office, Function Point.

I promise the title isn't just fluff and well-constructed clickbait. If you follow the simple advice in this article, you will be able to run longer distances without extra training. Instead of clocking in more hours on your shoes, we're going to focus on mental conditioning by tweaking a thought or two. The advantage to this is, you're not only going to improve your running drastically, but you will also notice a difference in attitude towards navigating your daily battles (with life).

Confronting Failure

Recently I ran the Vancouver Sun Run, a 10km race, and had one of my best times; but the best part was the ease of the run compared to previous years. I glided through that race like butter. If it's not apparent, I am not a runner, 10km is not easy for me but I've run this course countless times in the past decade, in all conditions. I know each turn and hill by heart: exactly where I start blistering, and where the struggle gets real.

Due to recent adventures having way too much enjoyment being fun-employed, getting into hunting and starting CFC, I haven't had much time to work out. My muscles are deflating, and I'm sadly getting softer by the day. So on race day, I was even more nervous because just the day before I had temporarily lost Jarid on a scramble down a mountain slope while we were scouting for bears. The pressure was on, as I felt the need to redeem myself and to have my hunting partner feel like he could rely on me to keep up.

It’s All Mental

I hadn't had time (or let's be real here, the desire) to run more than 5km a couple of times in the last few months. But one thing saved me when the horn blew and I started running—my mental conditioning. All the combined years of Tim Ferris books, recent Cameron Hanes Instagram stories, and positive affirmations (a great habit formed while selling books door-to-door) kicked in. I felt bulletproof.

You hear similar success stories like this all the time, of that person who overcame and recovered from a crippling accident or built their fortune through the power of positivity. I never thought I would be that person. I kept running and preserving my energy, anticipating the pain, but it never came. Each time I was about to tire, I focused on my breathing and repeated every cheesy self-lifting quote I knew: "You got this. You're killing this. You are a warrior." Each time I uttered out a sentence, the effect was instant. It melted away the cramps and sting of the blisters. At the last sprint, a buzz kicked in and I was experiencing the runner's high for the first time. I was probably the only person crossing the finish line with a giant grin on my face. It was ridiculous! I finished right at the hour, 30 minutes faster then I had expected. The best part was having a blast running! Who would have thought?

Practice Self Awareness

The infectious, blind confidence (Jarid’s words) I have now had taken years of practice. Slowly becoming aware and stopping the negative seeds in my thoughts before they sprout, and become poisonous roots in my brain. It's not something I am naturally born with, it demands willpower and determination. But I hope my testimony motivates you to start today. We are all victims of being self-deprecating, overly critical, and stopping when the going gets hard.

Let's change this today, instead, have complete faith in yourself and your goals. The outcomes are incredible and contagious. People have asked me if I’ve changed my diet or upped my workout routine and I assure them McDoubles are still apart of my weekend routine, and the word gym still makes me cringe. Positivity seeps from the inside out and strengthens you in ways a squat or deadlift will never achieve.

Happy Running!

Jenny