The Power of the Mind

It feels so good to be running pain-free, to be running during the summer (with no snow, ice, and freezing cold temps), and feeling like I am getting back into shape! I still have a long ways to go to get back to where I was last summer, but I am truly enjoying the process of this all!

Last week I hit 57 miles, with a long run of 17 miles that went really well. This week I’m on track to run 67 miles with one two-a-day and a 19-miler this weekend. Nichole has me working!!

This morning’s workout was an interval workout on the track. Track workouts still intimidate me. (They bring back memories of my high school daysnot bad, just lots of nerves.) I had no plans of ditching the workout, but I may have procrastinated a little more than usual before heading out the door. Good thing I have to be back by a certain time in order for Craig to go to workotherwise these runs would be pushed off even longer!

It was perfect running weather this morning with temps in the low-50s and cloudy. This would be my ideal conditions to run a marathon in if it were up to me. I ran to the high school track that’s close to our house, which I’m so thankful I don’t have to drive somewhere. Once I got to the track, I did some dynamic drills and striders before starting the workout of 6 x 800 meters.

Luckily I’ve run so many intervals, that my mind and body fall into the right pace from the get-go.

#1 2:58

The first one always feels so easy! I jog one lap for a recovery, and then start the second interval.

#2 2:58

Nichole said I should try to run these in 2:50, but I knew I wasn’t going to be close to that after the first two intervals. BUT it isn’t time to give up. I start the third one and keep pushing. I tell myself I’m halfway done after this next one.

#3 2:58

Maybe it is all my years of playing in the band that my internal metronome kicks inthe exact same time for the first four intervals.

#4 2:58

Now it is time to start playing mind games. My time usually drops a few seconds on the last interval because I know it’s the last one. So, I reason, what if I tell myself the second to the last one is the last one. Of course I know this is actually not true, but what if I simply say it in my head. I figure it is worth a shot, so I start the 5th interval.

#5 2:55

I glance down at my watch and surprise myself with the numbers on my watch. It actually worked! I paid for it though because my legs were really starting to feel it. But there’s always ‘just one more’ left in those legs and you find the willpower for the last one.

#6 2:56

And done! I leave the track and start a very slow jog back home.

It is amazing what limits the mind can put on your physical capability when using the wrong phrases or mantras. Too many times we let the negative thoughts creep in, and they limit what our body is actually capable of. Practice using positive words and phrases during your workouts, that way when it comes to race day, you don’t have to think about themthe positive thoughts will come naturally.

Some positive thoughts I’ve used during races:

  • I have worked harder than 95% of the other people out here.
  • It will be over before you know it.
  • This is way easier than childbirth. (At least anything will always be for me.)
  • Keep pushing.
  • Only X mile(s) to go or X minutes to go.

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