Thursday, June 14, 2018

Three Things: Positive Mindset

One of my biggest areas to improve upon is the mental side of running. Some days running is just plain HARD and it doesn't take long to get my brain on board with that truth. I recently read Deena Kastor's new book and it gave me a whole new perspective on the mental side of running.

I don't know how many times I've pulled up for a long run with Toni and announced, "ugh, this run is going to suck." Or I've said it on the way to the run in my head. My stomach was upset, I couldn't find my ipod/GUs/handheld/favorite shorts, Garmin is dead, etc. YOU GET THE POINT. Guess how many of these runs were great ones? Zero. I set the intention that the run was going to suck, and guess what? It did.

A few weeks ago I had a long run with all the cards stacked against me.

  • Toni was out of town, solo long run.
  • 12 miles, longest long run in months.
  • Feels like temp of 77 (at 5:15am) and 95% humidity.
  • I couldn't find my Garmin (I had forgotten I decided to charge it as I was laying out my clothes).
  • I forgot my iPod and turned around to go get it.
  • In turning around to get my iPod I was late to the 5:15am group run, so I didn't get company for the first 2 ish miles like I had hoped.
  • When I got to the meet up spot MY FREAKIN' IPOD WAS DEAD ANYWAY.
Despite all of those things, I tried to enforce positive self-talk:
  • This will be such good mental training, to run solo, without distraction.
  • This is basically two hours of moving meditation.
  • I am so lucky to have two+ hours of time to run and not feel like I should be doing something else.
  • The run will probably be challenging with the heat and humidity but long runs are supposed to be challenging, perfect. 
When the sun came up during the second half and I was really starting to feel toasted, I repeated in my head how thankful I was during the tiny moments of shade, especially during the last 2.5 miles where I was really out in the open. I put zero pressure on myself for an "appropriate" long run pace, and just opted to run by feel knowing that completing a 12 mile long run on a challenging day like that was a win enough.

And it was good. My pace during the second half of the run was a little faster than the first half of the run. The pace really wasn't much slower than my LR pace from this spring with Toni in much nicer conditions. I sweated my ass off, but the heat didn't kill me like it usually does. And I found myself singing some of my favorite songs in my head while miles ticked off.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions to further this goal, I know I have a lot of room for improvement and am excited to see how it translates further into race performances!

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