Head Games

You’re welcome!

Okay, Foreigner is right.  Huh, who would have thought I would ever write that?  But “if you want to win, you have to learn how to play!”  Yup, that’s totally me and running.

I’ve read that one of the keys to faster running is accepting that there will be some pain and discomfort but continuing on because you know your body can handle it. I honestly don’t know how to do this.  My “mental toughness” is somewhere around marshmallow on the Mohs Scale.  I have a really hard time running on a treadmill because I can get off and stop ANY TIME I WANT.  I have to constantly force myself to accept the pain/discomfort through various tricks.

[And when I say “pain”, I’m not talking about intense physical pain.  I mean my mind is being a whiny bitch who wants to sit on the couch and watch Glee.]

Trick #1

I always do out-and-backs.  If I have to do a longer run that requires more than one loop, I have to find a different route.  If I’m in sight of my house, I am suddenly: too sore, too cold, too hot, too thirsty, have to pee, etc.

Trick #2

I have found that it is best for me to run with a group when taking on a new distance.  I mentally psych myself out every time I make a big jump in distance and have talked myself out of more than one run that way.  To combat this, I try to coordinate these runs with my local Moms Run This Town group.  More on this great organization tomorrow 🙂

Trick #3

I have to fake out the warm up.  When I started doing 10Ks, I began having odd tightness in my calves for the first few miles.  It was total mind BS because if I could focus on something else, it would go away and not return.  I have found that doing some warm up sprints with Little Runner or even running his fun run with him before my race helps me focus on something other than my calves.

Trick #4

I have to pretend I’m a drill sergeant.  Tough love, all the way.  If I say to myself, “just make it to that next tree”, then I invariably find myself stopping almost dead in my tracks.  For me, the only want to keep going is to engage in a little verbal abuse.  I have been known to swear at myself. Out loud.  I do try to keep that for when I’m alone…

Trick #5 (in process)

I have to work on creating a positive mental dialogue before my races.  This was oh-so-aparent at the Swamp Stomp.  I was feeling defeated even while we were driving down and I know that it contributed to my problems at mile 11.  I was visualizing myself sitting down on the double yellow lines and just not moving again until they closed the course.  Of course, this only intensified my cramps and totally depleted my energy.  For my next race on May 19, I am focusing on positive thinking and imagery.   I CAN do this!  I HAVE trained well!  I WILL finish strong!  No sad runner girl for me.  She’s not welcome any more!

How do you get your mind on board?  Is the physical or mental effort the most difficult for you?

Tomorrow: Safety in Numbers

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One thought on “Head Games

  1. Thanks for all the tricks… I often find myself talking myself out of running further/faster. I love running in a group and agree that it is a total mind game!! 🙂

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