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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Running is Mental

As a Calgary Marathon ForeRunner, I have been given an entry to participate in the 2016 race.
However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
A small homage to The Oatmeal - his musings on running are the BEST! 
Mental Toughness and Running. 
They go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong!!!

And let me tell you...sometimes it's lacking. Not the mental part - I have that part down quite well. The toughie part, which I am working on. But the last couple months have been tough being tough! 

I have stopped many a time to tie my shoe, stretch out my calf, or go to the loo. Or cry. That has happened mid run or post run. I let it go for a moment, then wipe my face and carry on. The little cry may be due to an ungodly amount of stress and not the fact that running is seemingly SO HARD right now. But I persevere. My goal is to relentlessly move forward. To keep moving. If nothing else it propels me to a different place I was when I started. 

Sometimes I sing. OUT LOUD. Thank goodness I can hold a tune. Sometimes I kick my own butt mentally and yell out loud "one more mile!!! Or whisper as I run YES, you got this. I have also pulled out #allthemantras. 
Sometimes when I am feeling the blahs, I take a photo and make it into a motivational meme thingy ... good to reflect on later. Or remind me of alltheFAB. WHATEVER gets you through. You may have seen a few of these on my blog...or even on someone else`s blog (but not attributed to me, but that is another story - haha), Hey that means they work right???
So...what to do when you are lacking that toughness...and you HAVE to get out and train because your bit race is say...90 sleeps away (Hello!!! Calgary Marathon! 94 days away!!! ) and the weather isn't cooperating? Or it`s nice out but too icy. Or you feel you need something cause the runs are lacking and its just damn hard to get er done.... 

No matter what the race or where you are in training, we all have those times where its sorta BLAH! 
Here are a few tactics that have helped me on the run 

When you feel like quitting, remember why you started. 
Why are you running? Right now...or you next race. What is the REASON. Is it for someone? or For yourself? Whatever the reason, make sure you remember to keep your eye on the prize and remind yourself why you are out there. Little goals turn into big goals. I never believed that I could run a marathon. But I did. 3 times. A halfmarathon is sooo far. Well now I have run 42 halfmarathons. Sure, I wanted to quit a few times. Some runs have been pretty sucky. I won't lie. I have wanted to stay in bed OR even go back to bed once I started. BUT I keep going. And never regretted it.

Never judge a run by the first mile. Or two. 
Sometimes it takes a while for you to settle into the run. KEEP MOVING!!! And, on occasion, sometimes the entire run sucks. For whatever reason - sometimes its easy to pinpoint, sometimes it just feels the world is conspiring. Well, this is where your suck it up and get it done and count those miles. Or...there is no "or". Those miles count - slow or fast. They happened. Sometimes on a shorter run, I pack it in and tell myself tomorrow will be better. And, it most always is. Don't beat yourself up. Move on. It is done. And, as trite as it sounds, tough runs ARE a good thing. They force you to deal with issues that may come up in a race. Plowing through a hard run will undoubtedly help pull you through a race at mile 12 or mile 20 or even 30. 

Be Mindful. 
I run to keep sane and to regain my mindfulness. I'm so lucky that I CAN run. Celebrate that. Celebrate every damn mile. THEY all count. Do not denigrate a run. Do not say you suck. It goes along with the move along now. Sometimes just giving thanks  is a cool thing. If I have a run partner, I always say THANK YOU for the run. They bring you through so much - good and bad times. 

This sort of goes with celebrating every damn mile. But out on the paths or trails, I find good juju. Smile and wave at your fellow runners out there! I love that many of my running friends tell me that they love to run  into me on the path as I am always smiling. I firmly believe that smiling lightens your step. You know when you are feeling blah and you see someone and then you put that pep in yer step again? Yes. Do that!! 

We are all getting to the point of ramping up those miles. Do whatever it takes to get you through your long runs. Plan a post run meal. Think about how good a beer/cider/glass of wine will taste while you take a hot shower or bath. Think about how you have got to the very spot you are in at this very moment. Think - "OMG i love this song". Whateverrrrrrrr. Long runs (depending on the distance you are training for) can be long. And, you will think about all kinds of stuff on those runs. Make the most of it. And if you get bogged down try switching topics in your brain (or is that just me?) ...or songs if you listen to music. Push through and I promise it gets better. 

Do your homework. Stretch, Make Mr. Foamie Roller your bestie! Strength train or cross-train. If you keep at it you ARE doing the work. And that will keep you on course and your head in the game. 
See you out there on the trails and paths!! 
You. Got. This. 
You Rock! 

How do YOU stay focused and positive during a tough run? 
Got a favourite mantra?

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