Running and Children’s Books

February 12, 2014

Ok, let me start by saying my brain works in funny ways.  But lately I’ve been borrowing some insights from two classic stories- The Little Engine that Could and The Tortoise and the Hare- and applying them to my running routine.  I’ve made some pretty nice improvements by using these lessons, so I wanted to share them with you.  Today let’s break down the Little Engine that Could and tomorrow we’ll talk about those pesky animals.

In The Little Engine that Could (currently in Lily’s rotation of favorites), a little engine agrees to pull some train cars over the mountain.  She doesn’t know if she can do it, for she is just a little engine, but she tells herself, “I think I can.  I think I can,” and at last she does make it.  The power of positive thinking works wonders.


A few weeks ago I sat down with one of my friends who runs and asked her for some tips.  She’s known to tear up 8 miles at a time (!) which blows my mind.

“In a row?” I asked.  “You run the miles in a row?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Without stopping?”


My mind: ka-boom!

At that point I was walking/running 2.2 miles per day, with an emphasis on the walking.  “Running is mental,” my friend explained.  “Just tell yourself you can and run through it.”

Well hot damn if she wasn’t right.  The next day I set out on my run and when I felt like I needed to stop I told myself, “Your legs are doing this distance every day anyway.  They can carry you.  Just keep running.”  In other words, “I think I can.  I think I can.”

And by telling myself I could, I ran my first non-stop mile in year.  It hurt, sure, but in a good way.  And the next day I ran two miles.  Holy.  Cannoli.

The best part of the experience is the sense of achievement I felt, knowing that I could set and reach goals.  Suddenly my 12-minute mile pared down to 11.  And then 10.5.  And then 9:40.


Being able to see improvement is awesome.  When I exercised in a gym it felt like I was putting in the time.  Now I feel like I am challenging and bettering myself.  I’ve even got a few 5K runs on the horizon.  I think I can.  I think I can.

What about you?  Have you ever had an exercise breakthrough?  I would love to know your tricks!



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