Question: I find that sometimes I go through a period of making very good progress in running: increasing my mileage, feeling great, getting good speed. And then after some time everything falls apart and my running goes downhill.

Sri Chinmoy: It happens to everyone. Life is not always smooth sailing; it goes up and down. The main thing is to get satisfaction. While running, when you touch your peak you are very happy. When you are unable to reach your peak, you should not feel that it is your fault. It is not that you have deliberately injured yourself. You have not said to your body, "I fed you so many times; now I want to starve you." If you are deliberately enjoying your lack of speed or lack of enthusiasm then you are to be blamed. But if circumstances have led you to this condition, please try to maintain your equanimity and peace of mind. Feel that you are going through a phase that may last for three or four weeks, but that eventually it will pass.

While you are in this deplorable condition, try to think of the summit which you reached two or three weeks earlier, and try to remember the joy that you felt. Then you will see that the joy you got from your previous achievements will carry you through, and very soon you will not only reach but transcend your previous height. You are not fooling yourself; you are only bringing happiness into your system, and this happiness is confidence. Again, confidence itself is happiness. Try to feel that your problem is just a small obstacle, a hurdle that you will soon overcome. Then you will be able to diminish the frustration that you now feel. Once you diminish your frustration, again in a week or so you will be able to regain your capacity. But if you maintain or increase your frustration, then the problem will linger. It may go on for two or three weeks.

These downhill periods happen to everyone. Is there any runner who can say that he has never had any difficulties? Only for short-distance runners is it possible to maintain their performance. If they are not injured, then for months and months they can keep the same speed. But for long-distance runners it is not possible.