Tips Archives: Mental Training
Body and Mind
The mind can have a great influence in pulling our bodies beyond
their limits. Unfortunately most of us usually experience this in
a negative way. As the mind pulls us away from a designated course
of action, we get distracted into non-productive or destructive
activities. In running, such negativity may cause us to believe
weıre not capable of achieving our goals.
When you get the body and mind working together, youıll find yourself
a better competitor than someone who is a stronger runner but lacks
this body/mind integration. Just as a team with good teamwork can
defeat a team of outstanding but not synchronized individuals, youıll
be able to outperform others who may be more "capable" in the particulars,
but canıt get them working together. The mind is the captain of
the ship, and it must be in constant communication with all the
body systems so they work in harmony and keep you moving strongly
Right Brain v. Left Brain
The left side of your brain is the logical side. It comes to life
when youıre under stress. It can come up with a million reasons
why you donıt want to go out for a run, donıt feel like continuing
a run, or canıt get a rhythm going. It has a whole bevy of excuses
and reasons to quit and they all make perfectly good sense! Do
any of these sound familiar?
- Iım really tired today . It would be better for me to relax
and watch the news.
- Itıs freezing outside. Iıd better stay inside where itıs warm.
Iıll run later.
- This is way too uncomfortable to keep going. Iıve got a million
things to get home and do instead.
- Every step is work. I just want to go home and forget about
The right side of your brain is the quiet side. When you can relax,
itıs full of creative solutions to almost any problem the left side
can come up with. Jeff says in his Training Journal (p. 58) that
"The first 15 minutes of every run are a shock to the system. Slow
down, get through it and youıre on your way." If you can just relax
and accept that it will take a few minutes to get warmed up and
moving smoothly, your right brain can take over and get your mind
off those tight muscles and negative left-brain messages.
The Postrace Blues - Tips
for getting back out there
I often hear the same story, it goes like this. A woman/man spends
months training for a big race, usually a marathon. The event is
a career first-one of those goals they always thought they wanted
to achieve but never thought, until now, that they were capable
of reaching. Crossing the finish line is one of the proudest moments
of their life. Then for weeks after this peak experience, he/she
struggles to get out the door. Running, quite simply, has lost its
appeal. Oh, you too??
1. Sign on the dotted line. Sign up for another race while still
training for your big day. Even a temporary goal will build a motivational
bridge through the difficult period of postrace recovery.
2. Shift gears. If your first mission was to finish a marathon,
for example, choose a different type of challenge afterward, such
as a scenic running trip.
3. Rehearse your training. Thinking about running goes a long way
in getting you out the door. The more you can rehearse each daily
run after the big day, the easier it will be to run as planned.
4. Get 20/20 hindsight. After the race, look back on your training
and racing strategy. What did you do right? What should you have
done differently? By doing some fine-tuning, you'll learn more about
yourself and your running, and you'll get over the race more quickly.
5. Run with a group. Social runs can entertain you as you share
jokes, gossip, and running goals. Many recovering marathoners find
it motivational to work out with beginning runners. By going slower
than usual, you can easily converse with your new set of aerobic
The Exercise Responsibility
1. Setting aside some time for exercise
2. Getting out and doing it no matter how busy you are
3. Making some changes in food choices
4. Noticing and noting the positive changes in the way you feel
5. Making the exercise a habit
6. Changing your overall dietary plan to coincide with your exercise
7. Noting how good you feel and how much more control you have
8. Reinforcing yourself for taking responsibility for your eating
and exercise behaviors
I'm looking forward to my
- The physical exertion will feel good.
- The increased blood circulation makes me feel more alive.
- I love the way I feel afterward: relaxed and focused, with a
- My family appreciates the way I am after a run.
- It's so great to run in the morning to get the mind and spirit
mobilized and focused for the day.
- My afternoon run takes away the stress, getting me ready to
enjoy my family.
- During the second half of my run and afterward, I'm in another
world, swimming in endorphins.
Too much of a good thing?
...Running is an addictive activity. ...You feel so good, you never
want to let it slide.
...Yet running, like many other pursuits, can be carried too far
- from habit to obsession.
...Physical problems are obvious early warning signs of burnout.
When activity is increased dramatically or too many races are run,
injury is probably just down the road. There are also mental signs
of going too far. You may not just feel like running, you may be
depressed, or you may experience radical behavior changes.
Early warning signs. ...Try to be aware of the early signs of stress
so you can back off when they occur and avoid injury or breakdown.
The early signs are:
- restlessness at night
- higher pulse race in the morning
- soreness in the feet
- pain in your "weak links"
- change in appetite
- lack of desire
- feeling dead at the beginning and end of a run
When running is no longer a joy and a release from the pressures
of the world, but a manic pursuit, then family, friends and job
are likely to suffer.
The best advice I can give to avoid this sad state of affairs is
to first, be aware of the early warning signs-recurring injuries,
depression, loss of motivation, irritability, fixation - and make
necessary course corrections.
Secondly, try to keep things balanced and in harmony, and let running
enhance, not rule your life.
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