Monday, September 7, 2009

Mind Torture

I fall victim of this "disease" I have labeled "mind torture". Running for such a long distance your mind starts to wonder. You can be in the best physiological shape to run a half or full, but your psyche starts to tell you different. Once you are at this point you feel you can't finish your run, and won't be able to accomplish the finishing goal: 26.2, 13.1, or any mileage. While battling this minor set back, I try to compile lists while running to help me break this psychological game I have created for myself. Here are a few tips:
  1. Take it day by day. Focus only on the distance you have scheduled for that day. If you have a bad day don't let it get you down. If you starting thinking how hard that "easy" run was it will create a downward spiral resulting in you throwing all your hard training out the window. You won't always have a good run. There will be bad days, and you have to accept it and move on. If you accept it and move on your next run, or next couple of runs, will be the best you've had.
  2. Proper running gear. I can't say it enough. If your shoes have reached their lifespan kick them out. Get new running shoes. It will make a world of difference! Your legs will appreciate it and will allow you to proceed to rack in those high miles.
  3. Mix up your play list and running scenery. Variety will help keep your psyche occupied. This way you won't be focusing so much on how far you are running. Once you reach your desired distance for the day it will feel like a breeze because your mind had something else to think about other than your run. Regardless if it's a new route in a city or park there are always new faces there to people watch and such. A new play list will keep you wondering what tune will be next. The same play list leaves no excitement of what "power song" will come up next to give you a boost.
  4. Motivation! I love having a running buddy. It is best motivation to keep me going. It allows you to have someone else to share your accomplishments with. Motivation can be in any form. New shoes also motivate me to go out, run, and put some miles on my shoes. Tracking your progress is a great tool for motivation. You can do it the old school way with pen and paper and track your frequency, intensity, duration, mode/type (FITT Principle). There are also online applications you can download from places such as active.com, or even Facebook. Another mode to track your progress is Nike+. I've been introduced to it and fell in love. I'm addicted and have only used it twice. It helps keep track of all the FITT Principle as well as future goals, averages of different aspects, and more.
  5. Stay positive. It can be hard when you hit the runner's block to stay positive, but after you fall you have no where to go but up. Running long distance is tough. If it was easy everyone would be doing it (so cliche, I know). Keep a clear head while running and stay relaxed. It will help keep you from playing games with your mind.
It's all easier said then done, I know. I catch myself falling into the trap of runner's block and mind torture when my running routine because predictable. When I change at least one aspect of my routine it helps me to get back in the groove. It's all worth the outcome! So change one thing in your routine and watch how the progress will begin to increase.

Training Tip of the Week: Take care of your body. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. That's not to say all pain means you're falling apart. You know your body and you know when something doesn't feel right. So when this occurs stop and take care of the problem before it escalates into something major. If rest is need, do it.

Training Song of the Week: So Right- Dave Matthew's Band. Jam Bands are always a great choice when all else fails. One thing I love about DMB is the countless song choices! Love it. Enjoy it.

Happy Running,
Jayme

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