Friday, April 6, 2012

Breaking the Mental Blocks

So this week I focused on two things: trying to get more sleep during the week so I wouldn't be so exhausted on the weekends and trying to remove the mental stumbling blocks during my runs. The first really meant just getting to bed earlier and not goofing off so much in the evenings after work. That was sort of accomplished. I did go to bed earlier, but I'm finding I'm still tired so I need to do a better job of getting my butt to bed. The second is also a work in progress, but I wanted to share a quote that inspired me this week.

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Have you ever experienced that? When you know your legs could keep going but your heart just isn't up for the run so you walk or cut the run short or decide to skip the run all together? I've done that plenty of times. We all have. If you haven't I think you're lying to yourself. Our minds are both our greatest strength and greatest weakness. How can that be? Have you ever been so determined to accomplish a task that you do anything to make it happen? Where there's a will, there's a way. And it's our minds that make that happen. The same goes for runs (or bike rides, or making it to the gym, or whatever fitness goal you're after). 

How did I use this to fuel my training this week? I quit letting my mind tell me "oh you've run far enough, it's time for a break". I stopped looking at my watch for pace and mileage so often. I still looked, but not nearly as often as I used to. I decided to just go. Let my legs do what they know how to do. Run. Breath. Relax. Let go. Once I stopped the negative thoughts from forming, they were replaced with positive thoughts. Funny how that works out. 

The end result was I had two fantastic runs, and not because I wasn't tired or tried any cool tricks. I was actually pretty tired yesterday, but the run was still good. I told myself I could run, and so I did. Will every run be that awesome? No, but that's okay too. Focus on what's positive about your runs. Quit letting the internal demons take over. Easier said than done, but it just takes practice. 

I'm hoping I can carry that momentum into tomorrow's long run. We'll just wait and see. A couple things that will be different for tomorrow: I bought some Gu (energy gel) and restocked my supply of Accellerade. The Gu came at the recommendation of a coworker who also runs a lot. The Accellerade is what I drank last year, but this year I will save it for post run only. I'm just drinking water on my runs and ingesting the gel. I'll give an update on what I think of Gu after I try it. 

For Rex running seems to be helping him a lot. He says he feels better overall and has maintained his motivation, which is really cool because he hated running before. We bought him a hydration belt so he can keep his hands free on his long runs. Evidently he hates my handheld water bottle. I might look into getting a belt that holds the water bottle on the small of my back so my hands are free too. Running is such a simple sport but the accessories are amazing! 

Tomorrow - 8 miles. Phew! We've crossed over the halfway mark towards that 13.1 goal! 

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