For The Young Athlete in Uncertain Times

So right now your life is a little up in the air. The certainty of attending school and pursuing athletics and activities no longer exists. But that does not mean you need to despair. You have something in your life that is real, healing, and certain- running.

If you are lucky enough to be engaged with a team this summer be sure to commit yourself to what is happening there. Whether you are meeting in person or virtually, you can do a few simple things to help get your mind into the game.

First- Just run. That sounds simple and obvious, but you are living in a world where specialization has been so ramped up that often we forget that we can do some very simple things without expert eyes on us, without a detailed process, without careful tracking- and running is one of those things. That may sound odd for a coach to tell you that you may not need her- but the reality is, running is a basic function of our bodies, so just go run.

Second- engage in a running community. If you are not at practices in person but your coach has an app get on there and stay on there. Be interested in what you and others are doing. Challenge each other. Support each other. Be a team. This will help keep your focus and help relax your mind. Runners are non-judgmental as a rule. Make sure you bring that competitive edge into your life, but without the negative consequences of too much pressure.

Third- Make running a lifestyle. If all you have right now is running, make it your thing. Google who is who in the running world. Check out some of the running feats of all time. Think about how your everyday actions affect your running. Attend to things like your diet and other exercising like push ups and core work. Think of how these things can support your running. Don't become obsessive about it, but let it take over some of the negative and frustrated feelings you (and everyone) are dealing with right now. Check out apps like Strava and read Runners World (and this website). Find running communities for runners and young runners and share them with the runners you know. YouTube is full of runners. This is a great time to practice evaluating what you see on social media and its truthfulness and efficacy about running. Practice the little things- a text with a friend each evening to let each other know your mileage for the day, measuring miles with other family members- find a way to get running into your head.

Lastly- be a positive runner. The running world is full of people working toward individual goals. Most of these people are very positive and supportive of each other (even if competitive). Be a part of the positive energy that the sport naturally brings to the world. Think of the strides you make, not the miles you did not run. Think of the work you are gifting to your body, not what you wished you could have done. Make a plan (a doable plan) that can help you get faster, run longer, run taller and stronger.

So running is under your control. Reach out to the community. Be confident that you can improve and that you can achieve. You are worth STRONG AND MIGHTY

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