Some Days I’m Just “Mental”

As I continue my journey into running, I am often amazed at how much I don’t know (Which is a lot).  You can research everything you think there could possibly be about something, BUT until you actually get out there and do it…. well…..You just don’t know what you don’t know!

One aspect of running that I have come up against is the mental portion of it.  When the body and mind are definitely NOT on the same play book and disagree about the best way to proceed.  My example is simple.  Right now I run 3 times a week, right at 3 miles each day (okay..don’t laugh.  Remember, I am an older, out of shape, new runner).  Most of the time I run at a park near my home (See previous post here) and while it is still a work out for me I can finish my runs.  HOWEVER there is a route I “run” near my home that I have never been able to finish.  It’s the same distance as what I run in the park, the net elevation change is close to the same (configured differently) it shouldn’t be that difficult, BUT it is!

I started on this route this morning knowing my past results.  I was determined to finish it this time (that’s what I said all the times before) and ran on.  About half way through, my mind was definitely telling me “Give up, walk, go home, lay down, die..just about anything but don’t keep going!”  I decided to override my mind and let my body keep going.  My mind battled my body the rest of the run but I finished it without stopping this time!  VICTORY!

What tips do you use for dealing with the “Mental” part of running?

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About ZekeRunning

My name is Harry, I am 46 years old living in Mesa, AZ. I work in Retail Management and I am an Aspiring Amateur Home Chef. I weigh too much (getting less by the day), work too much and I wasn’t getting any exercise! I had to do something…and I chose to start running!
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6 Responses to Some Days I’m Just “Mental”

  1. It can be tough to run when the body tells you ‘no’. The mind is a powerful thing though, so I suggest a few things.
    a) When the going gets tough, remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place
    b) Perhaps on a really tough run, give yourself a reward after the run. But only IF you finish the run. :) (you can only do this once in a while, or it becomes routine-not so good)
    c) When I am having a difficult run, I try and think of anything BUT running in my mind to make the time go by. Perhaps upcoming plans for the weekend, the hobby project you are working on, or maybe just the next movie or book you are reading/seen.
    d) When you only have a bit more to go, say to yourself “Just 10 more minutes!” What’s 10 more minutes? A fraction of your day.
    e)When all else fails, I put on the tunes. Music always motivates me in the end.

  2. I’m a runner too Zeke! As far as the mental aspects of running, it really depends on the distance, the day, the circumstance . . . in each marathon I’ve run, I’ve had a different mantra that I repeat to myself, like “I’m gonna make it.” Often, I raid my experience bank. I remember another time I overcame something difficult in training, whether it be dehydration, injury, exhaustion . . . and knowing I once got through it helps me run through it again.

    Gosh, I don’t want to give too long-winded of an answer, but it’s great to meet another runner! And now I’d better lace up!

  3. livedreamrun says:

    Hi Zeke! Welcome to the world of running! I’m so glad you found your passion, and they say running doesn’t get easier – you just get better. What you’re experiencing is normal, and a rule of thumb to follow is if the pain is enough to alter your form, stop. Listen to your body – it knows what it’s talking about. Your blog looks great!

    I agree…much of running IS mental. Your body wants to give up long before your mind will allow it. I have some mantras that I repeat to myself in those rough moments, such as “Come on legs, you can do this. You are strong, powerful, and more than capable.” I also think about how great it’s going to feel to relax later, or what I’m going to eat. ;-)

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Jim Brennan says:

    Hi Zeke, you are not alone when it comes to the mental aspect of running. I can tell you from decades of experience that many times I have to push myself out the door. But one thing I can assure you, 95% if I stick with it for one mile or roughly ten minutes, and once the perspiration begins to flow, the world around me changes and I continue on. Many of my posts on Rite2Run are related to the mental aspects of running. Last year I wrote a short post about the magic or running, it might be a good start for you at http://rite2run.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/the-magic-of-running/

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