Using Vision-Boards to Refocus My Running

It’s April.  Many of us are a few weeks or a few months into our training plan for the year.  Maybe we set a big goal on January 1st.  Maybe we’re chasing a new PR, a longest distance, or a different style of race.  Maybe we’re just glad to be getting out and active!  Either way, training can get tough this time of year.  Distances get longer, our legs are tired, and it’s easy to let the voice creep in that says, “Nah, I’ll go out later. Or tomorrow. Or…”  We’ve hit the dreaded slump.  What a perfect time to remind ourselves that we are STRONG, CAPABLE, AMAZING, and DETERMINED.  It’s time to let our perseverance shine.Sometimes, it’s hard to find motivation, even when we love running, adventuring, and exploring.  I remember the first few years of my running journey, where every year found me chasing something new.  The thrill of my first 10k, my first half-marathon, my first marathon, my first ultra…it was easy to get excited and stay motivated with those unknowns on the horizon.  I was pushing my limits.  I was getting faster and feeling stronger.  I was SPARKED by this running thing.  And then came the year when I didn’t run a new distance.  I floundered!  I couldn’t believe how tough it was to motivate myself. It was pushing those limits that had really kept me lacing up my shoes consistently and getting out the door.  I procrastinated my physio, shortened my long runs, and really wondered what my “why” of running was. Best to hang up my hydration pack for good.

Just kidding.  Of course not!  But, what a perfect time to hit the reset button and check in with myself – what is my “why” of running?  What else motivates me before each run?  Why are nutrition and strength important for me?  Where do I find my JOY?  This reflection becomes crucial for us in our growth as runners because ultimately, we need to make these decisions for ourselves.  As a visual person, I was immediately drawn to vision-boarding, which I had used in other areas of my life, to help refocus my running during those challenging times, and remind myself of what I love about this sport.

Everything I know about vision-boarding, I’ve learned from my beautiful friend Kristina and her amazing momma Karen (they are the definition of women empowering women).  Think of it this way – a visual way to display your goals, dreams, ideals, and plans, through words and images that hold meaning for you.  It’s the perfect mix of mindfulness, arts & crafts, and beautiful motivation, all wrapped into one.  The best part of all, it’s totally your own! And, if you don’t have a ton of time, or crafts aren’t your thing – try a digital one instead.

What you need:

  • a base – paper, cardstock, cardboard, or even a notebook
  • old magazines for words/images
  • a photo or representation of yourself (remember, this is YOUR board!)
  • scissors
  • glue
  • a comfortable space – you might consider music, lighting, a comfy chair, a cup of tea, snacks, etc.

The how-to:

  • Start by settling yourself into this process. You might choose to use an inspirational reading or favourite poem, listen to some music, or even just think about a great run!
  • Flip through magazines and rip out pages with images or words that speak to you. (Don’t worry about cutting them out, that comes later.  For now, just rip!)
    • Keep your mind open
    • Frame it in the positive (avoid words like “can’t”, “don’t”, etc.)
  • Once you feel you’ve got a good pile going, begin cutting out the components you want to include, and place them on your page (no gluing!) It’s okay if you:
    • don’t use them all
    • go back and find some more
    • add your own words, sayings, logos, etc.
  • When you are happy with the start of your board, start gluing.
    • Pro tip – take a photo of your board, so you remember where all the little pieces were meant to go!

For a digital format, all you need is a photo collage app (downloaded or online).  I love adding some of my favourite quotes / race photos / views, maybe a logo of a goal race I have coming up or a highlight race from the past.  It’s quick and easy, but still gives me that mindful and a chance to reset or focus my goals.

What you create is an authentic & beautiful representation of your running journey right now – it might be all about the goals you’ve set for yourself, what you love about running, words and phrases that keep you motivated, etc.  It’s 100% yours (which means you can’t possibly do it wrong.)  When sharing vision boards, the language I’ve learned to use is, “And so it is.”  To me, this means I am grateful for what I’ve created, I accept where I’m at in my journey, and I look forward to all of the good the universe has in store for me.

My favourite part of this process was reminding myself of the best parts of running – the places it has taken me, the people I’ve met along the way, and most importantly, all that I’ve learned about myself through pushing my limits.

And so it is.

Written by: Eva Gorny 

- RLAG Ambassador

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