Somedays I feel like an inadequate runner but somedays I feel like a Champ!

“I hopped off the treadmill, dripping sweat, smelling bad, heart beating out of my chest, feeling so incredibly self-satisfied.”


I always preach the importance of everyone feeling confident about his or her running abilities – whether you run a 15 min/mile or a 5 min/mile. I truly believe that as long as you’re pushing yourself, you are a great runner.

But sometimes I don’t feel like that applies to me.

Sometimes I feel inadequate as a runner.

I’ve been running for over a year but I still have days where 2 miles might as well be 10 miles.

I wonder, do any of you who have been running for years ever still get this feeling? Will it someday go away?

On Thursday of last week a thunderstorm kept me indoors on the treadmill. I started out the run with nagging thoughts of inadequacy– less than a mile in and I just wasn’t feeling it. How could my legs feel so tired and used up after less than a mile?  Especially when I had a rest day the previous day!

I kept at it though and about 2 miles in I started to hit my stride. My legs warmed up and I was feeling okay, not great, but I knew I’d hit my goal of running 5K for the day even if it was somewhat of a struggle to the end.

Then this girl came in and got on the treadmill next to me.

I know you can’t judge a book by its cover but she looked like a runner (she also kicked that treadmill up and ran like an experienced, fast runner). I definitely do not look like a runner, but there I was next to her doing my thing.

And then something clicked and my feelings of inadequacy went out the window. I picked up the pace on my treadmill to more closely match her pace and I finished that last mile like a champion.

When I hit the 5K mark I realized I could have easily kept going, and I wanted to … a lot. But I follow my running coach’s program pretty religiously because it has yet to fail me.

I hopped off the treadmill, dripping sweat, smelling bad, heart beating out of my chest, feeling so incredibly self-satisfied.

No thoughts of running inadequacy followed me home.

Do you ever have feelings of self-doubt when running? What do you do to push past them?



  1. Nicki Morrison
    July 22, 2013 / 5:01 pm

    I struggled big time trying to run in the heat this summer. Realistically I knew it was making it harder but I couldn’t quite make myself feel like that was ok. I’d worked so hard to build up to running 5k and then I lost it. I felt like a HUGE failure. I live in Texas so the heat gets pretty bad, even in the morning. I joined a gym to use a treadmill and now I’m back on track and feeling great. Interestingly enough, I have found that I often have great runs on days that my runs don’t start out well

    • July 22, 2013 / 6:47 pm

      Hey Nicki, I completely know what you mean about having great runs on the days that don’t start well. Many times it takes me a mile or a mile and a half to really get into a run and then I feel like I could go forever! Then there are those magical days when from the first step I feel light and free … and non-magical days where my mind beats me before I even begin. I guess the most important thing is to remember that not ever run can be perfect and just to never let the memory of bad runs ruin the next run!

      Plus, there’s nothing as sweet as a redemption run! 🙂

  2. July 22, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    I definitely understand what you mean and it really only happens when I am comparing myself to others. If I focus on just what i”m doing then I’m happy as a clam!

    • July 23, 2013 / 1:18 am

      That’s the way to be! 🙂 My running coach has picked up my mileage this week and I plan on being happy as a clam during each run!

  3. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running
    July 23, 2013 / 7:59 am

    I have so much I want to say to this, and so little time!! I often feel inadequate, especially when looking at other bloggers’ workouts. It’s taken years to focus on my own journey and compare myself to only myself. Sometimes I still forget to do that and have to step back and realign my thought process. I think it’s very normal. It’s one reason my future running tattoo is focused around the idea of competing with yourself…it’s all mind games! You are capable and you are way more than adequate!!

    • July 24, 2013 / 2:36 am

      Thanks Ali! I definitely need to work on strengthening my mind. Positive mantras help me through some tough physical runs but they don’t really help when I start doubting myself… which I just have to completely stop doing! Not every run will be a great run and I just have to accept that — and remember that even the best runners have off days.

  4. Karla Bruning
    July 24, 2013 / 11:18 pm

    I constantly doubt myself when I run, especially during or after a tough workout. But I try to stay positive and remind myself of how far I’ve come as a runner. That usually does the trick to keep me motivated to get back out there again.

    • July 25, 2013 / 1:59 am

      I would never have guessed that you ever doubt yourself when running! You kick all kinds of running and tri butt!

  5. Jennifer,
    July 31, 2013 / 1:45 pm

    ABSOLUTELY! No matter how many races I run, no matter how many miles I put in every week, I STILL struggle with that feeling of not being a “real” runner sometimes, or that I don’t “look” like a runner. It’s definitely all in our minds, no question about it. And sometimes all it takes is powering through a tough workout or killing it on the last mile to remind us of just how silly it is to feel inadequate as a runner! 😀