As much as I talk about loving running, there have been plenty of days when I’ve wanted to give up in the first mile.
On June 30th I wrote about a really tough four-miler that was a complete mental challenge for me, but lately all of my runs have been pretty solid.
My long runs have been challenging (as they should be) and I’ve experienced some fueling issues, but I haven’t recently had any runs where I thought I was going to quit.
I might have fantasized about stopping once or twice, but it was never really an option, even on that awful day that I slammed into The Wall.
As my short weekday runs have crept up in mileage my mental toughness seems to have reached a new level. Or maybe as my long runs have increased, I’m just looking at those short runs with new eyes.
For example, the past two weeks I’ve broken my long run down into increments in my mind. When I ran seven miles two weeks ago I thought of it as just three miles, then three miles then one more mile. When I did 7.5 miles last weekend I thought of it as just five miles then two miles then half a mile.
Now, when I see 4 or 5 miles on my calendar during the week days I’m like no sweat, I got this! And when I start running it’s with light feet and a smile. That sounds corny, but it’s true.
Maybe it’s because deep down I’m thinking it’s only five miles then NO more miles but really I think it’s because I’m getting much better at managing the mental (and physical) aspect of running.
I’m no longer intimidated by anything over 2 miles. I no longer think “I don’t know if I can do this, I’m not a real runner.” I know I can tackle these miles BECAUSE I am a real runner.
I’m also learning my body better – I know that tightness in my right hip will go away if I just keep running a little longer. I know that stitch in my side will go away if I just slow down a little bit and regulate my breathing.
…I know that listening to “Sk8er Boi” by Avril is unacceptable to do in public but can really pull me through a rough patch (yes, I am properly ashamed of this).
Knowing these little things really helps with the mental aspect of running. I’m no longer consumed with negative versions of what if… maybe I should … oh no, what’s that …
Overall, I’m really happy with where I’m at right now both in terms of my half marathon training and also running in general. I’m enjoying myself, I’m seeing progress and I’m learning new things every day.
What is your #1 mental toughness tip?
What song do you rock out to that you’re kind of ashamed of? (C’mon tell me! It really can’t be any worse than Sk8er Boi!)