I’m a mentally challenged runner. I spend 90% of my training runs training my brain rather than my legs or at least most days it feels that way. I hear the negative, loud chatter “This is hard.” ” Why is she running so much faster than you?” “Are we really going to do this again?” ” I can quit and nobody would know.” “Can I just go back to bed.” “You know, most people don’t take this long to do this.” “This is hard.” My gray matter is my weakest muscle in my whole body.
Here’s an example of why listening to your gray matter is not always a good idea and how perception can be skewed and unreliable:
This morning I had to do only 4 miles at 11:54 pace. So I thought I’ll just stay in my neighborhood and knock this out. I started about 6 A.M., the sun wasn’t completely up yet. Keep in mind that last week was “recovery” week so the longest run I had to do was 6 miles, so I’m using fresh legs. I also slept great the night before, had a pre-run snack and hydrated. I took care of all personal business so there was no reason not to have a good run. My Garmin was charged and ready to go. Everything was just like it should be.
I walk out the front door do my .10 mile walk (yes I’m just that OCD that I know the mileage in my neighborhood) and I take off running. No sprints just an easy jog if you want to call it that. IMMEDIATELY I feel the heat just hanging in the air. Already my elbows and knees are sweating (it’s always the first thing to start sweating on me). I’m now getting close to the end of my first mile but I’m struggling because all I can feel is the heat hanging in the air. It honestly feels like someone has the dryer vent blowing on me. Then at that moment I SMELL someones dryer going . I typically love the early morning smells and rituals coming from homes. I smell peoples breakfast being cooked, occasionally I smell the dryers being turned on with the Downy dryer smell. It’s something I typically love but being that I’m hot as hell right that second and I don’t me like sexy hot but hot nasty sweat smell hot, smelling the dryer smells just makes me even more miserable. There’s no breeze, the sun is inching up and I’m miserable.
At this point I want to quit, stop, and go home. It’s not fun. I’m miserable. My body feels heavy.
I took a short walk break. I had to do something because I was falling apart and then I looked at my watch and saw that I was clocking in a 11:15 average pace (reminder: I’m suppose to be doing 11:54 pace). So a light bulb goes off (and I’m still walking) I’m not hurting. I’m not “falling apart”. I’m fine. My mind is miserable and wants to go home but my body is fine. My legs don’t hurt, my breathing isn’t really that bad I’m just digging myself into a mental grave of doom and gloom.
My body is fine. My legs, shoulders, back, hips all feel okay. Nothing hurts.
My perception before looking at my watch was that I was running really slow compared to my other runs. My perception was I doing a horrible job. My perception was I was going to have a horrible outcome to this run.
So I continued to run. I’m still not a happy camper but I’m better than I was. At this point in the run I still had 1.5 miles to go. So I kept my mind focused on my legs and I turned off the negative chatter. Yes I still felt the heat just hanging over me but I tuned it out. The good news is my legs were functioning just fine, my breathing and heart rate felt fine. Time to finish this roller coaster of emotions run.
Here’s what the final outcome looked like number wise
And here’s what today’s run look like with past runs……………..
So if you look at my past 4 mile run, today’s run was not bad at all.
My point is, don’t let your mind tell you that something is bad and you don’t feel good and your doing horrible. Evaluate and question the situation. Are you REALLY hurting? Are you REALLY going that slow?
I bet your doing just fine. NOW SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP AND DO IT AGAIN!