Welcome to another month of Run It!
In case you missed it, here’s what we covered so far this year:
This month we are talking about Mental Workouts for Runners.
The mental side of running has always been the hardest thing for me.
I’ve learned over the years that running is at least 90% mental. My mind needs to be trained just as much as my muscles and cardiorespiratory system. When negative thoughts creep in, things can quickly take a nose dive.
I can’t becomes my mantra. Which usually follows with a slowing pace.
Over the years, two things have been the key for flipping the negative switch to off.
1 ) Be your own biggest fan. I can get out and run anywhere, anytime. But when the going gets tough, my brain switches to Negative Nancy mode. Negative Nancy likes to tell me to slow down because I’ll feel so much better at an easy pace rather than goal pace. Switching my self talk to positive reinforcement rather than OH MY GOD I’M DYING type thinking really helped. Who knew? As cheesy as it sounds, Positive Polly became my BFF. When I got tired, rather than saying, “I’m tired”, I break out proven mantras like – I can do hard things. You have done harder things than this before. This too shall pass. Believe. Endure. Achieve. I can. I will.
I swear flipping to positive self talk is one of the biggest things that can help your mental game. Be your biggest cheerleader!
2 ) Focus on your breathing. Yoga is great for runners. It helps loosen up all your tight muscles and works on your flexibility. However, I think the biggest take away that I get from yoga in my running is my breathing. With yoga, we use diaphragmatic breathing which calms the nervous system, relaxes the mind and fills our blood with oxygen to energize the brain and body. When the going gets tough in a workout or race, by focusing on my breathing, it forces me to slow down my racing thoughts and to deliver oxygen to my hard working muscles. Rather than focusing on my desire to slow down or quit, I’m focused on taking deep meaningful breaths in and breathing out in a controlled manner. It also helps to take a deep breath and then forcefully exhale with a sigh. It’s kind of a way of shaking it off and moving on. Try it anytime even when not running.
Here are even more tips on how to strengthen your mental game from a few of my running friends. Click on the picture to take you to their post. And don’t forget to Pin away so you have a stash of valuable running info to reference whenever you need it.
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How’s your mental game?
Any good tips to share?