Tag Archives: Running

Working on My Mental Toughness

Building Mental Toughness in Running happyfitmama.com

Looking back at my training for races, I do a lot of cringing.

As in, insert forehead slap, “What was I thinking?!”

Particularly half and full marathon training.

Name any single one – not fueling during training, skimping on running goal pace miles, running through pain, etc and I’ve done them all. I’d like to think I’m getting wiser the more I run, that I’m learning from my past mistakes. But I’m a stubborn runner. Sometimes it takes a failure or ten, for me to have an AHA! moment.

One of the biggest things that I’m working on this training period is building my mental toughness.

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.

Building mental toughness in running | happyfitmama.com

I trained for a half marathon a few years ago that I had my heart set on achieving a shiny new PR.  My training went really well so I thought it was going to be easy (as easy as running a half marathon can be – lol!).

Long story short – I tanked at mile 3 because of negative thoughts.

I was so worried throughout my training and the days leading up to the race that a tendon injury that I had 6 months prior was going to rear it’s ugly head and prevent me from reaching my goal.

Worry leads to self sabotage. I felt one little twinge and spiraled out of control with negativity. By mile 6 I was ready to walk off the course.

FYI – I was completely fine. Who knows…maybe there never even was a twinge? Once Negative Nellie had her hands on me, I was toast.

Since this will be my first real race effort since my injury in 2015, I don’t want a repeat of that scenario.

Negative Nellie is being replaced with Positive Polly.

Or at least I’m trying to do this. Like I said, I’m in training.

Last week, during my long run that called for the last 5 miles at goal marathon pace, I put into practice what I’ve failed to do in my previous training plans.

Simple phrases like I am strong or I can do hard things totally flipped my perspective and that fast finish wasn’t nearly as tough as I envisioned it was going to be.

Building mental toughness in runnin g| happyfitmama.com

Along with the positive self talk, I’ve been trying to visualize myself running the actual race.  Of course, I’m visualizing me crossing the finish line, arms raised high above my head, with my goal marathon time on the finisher’s clock.

I’m also visualizing moments where I’ll be fatigued and want to stop.   I’m visualizing the last few miles where I’m deep in the pain cave and just want to be D.O.N.E with the damn race. What will I do to get my head out of that moment?  How will I direct my attention elsewhere?

I put my body through the paces of training. It’s time my mind got a workout too. Fingers crossed, we all work together on race day!

Are you a Negative Nellie or Positive Polly on race day?

What’s your best mental trick in running?

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coaches’ Corner.


Last Week’s Workouts

What a difference a week makes!

Clear roads. Warmth. Sunshine. Shorts.

The change in weather came at just the right time for last week’s workouts.  I’m 12 weeks out from Sugarloaf Marathon.  The workouts are getting more intense.  The mileage is creeping up.  I hit the 40+ weekly mileage stage and am feeling pretty damn good.

It’s amazing how you can feel a million times lighter and more gazelle-like with ditching 10,000 layers.


Monday’s are my cross training and strength days.

30 minutes recumbent bike with intervals

15 minutes rowing machine

20 minute strength workout mostly on the BOSU ball.

When my physical therapist suggested I get a BOSU ball two years ago, I didn’t think I’d use it that much.  Turns out that it’s the best thing since sliced bread for any kind of workout! I think it’s made a huge difference in not only my balance but strength too.

Try this quick 20 minute BOSU strength workout that I did during Last Week's Workouts happyfitmama.com


Morning Yoga Flow class at Bending Bodhi

Usually I run first thing in the morning, hustle home to get the kids ready and off to school and then head to yoga class. I decided to sleep in (6 a.m. woohoo!) so I could enjoy my run in the warmth and sunshine later in the day.  Plus, any workout that has a prescribed pace scares the pants off me.  I felt like I had a better chance of nailing the paces in the light of day rather than the dark.

Planned: 8 miles, Fartlek – 5 x 5:00 at 7:45-7:50 pace

Actual: 9 miles, 5 x 5:00 @ avg pace 7:42.  I didn’t want to run 9 miles but I misjudged how far away from home I was. Opps!

Side note: It may have only been 41 degrees but wearing shorts never felt better.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com


Lori and I went up and down the hilliest streets in town first thing in the morning for 6 miles of fun. Although it wasn’t nearly as warm as the day before, there were birds singing and an increasing amount of runners out at zero dark thirty. It can only mean one thing – spring is near!

Where were these runners when it was 10 degrees a few weeks ago?!?!

Strength training during my lunch break at work.  Perks of working in a rehab gym!

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com


A.M. Morning Flow Yoga class

I moved my long run to Thursday for two reasons. Earlier in the week I thought I might run an evening snowshoe race on Saturday (it eventually was cancelled because of lack of snow) and the forecast for Thursday was supposed to be the best day yet. I wanted to enjoy the warm weather as much as I could before it goes away.  You know it will – it’s only February!

Again, this workout freaked me out seeing it on paper – 14 miles with the last 5 miles at goal marathon pace (8:20).  I haven’t run a workout like that in a very, very long time.  The doubt machine was on high.  I made sure that the first 9 miles were at a comfortable easy pace.  As I neared mile 9, I flipped on the positive self talk switch to get rid of negative Nellie.

I can do hard things.

I am strong.

My body knows what to do.

Don’t think. Just do.

Guess what? It worked!

It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be.  The only problem was the third mile.  I had run out of Tailwind/water and was so unbelievably thirsty.  My body was not ready for 60 degrees and full sunshine.  It felt like I was in the Sahara desert.

I stopped to refill my bottle briefly and kind of lost my rhythm as I had to restart running again up a long hill.  But then I regrouped and got my pace back down for the last two.  Average pace for the last 5 miles: 8:18. BOOM!

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com




Nicole and I met up for an easy run.  I had planned a route that was mega hilly to practice climbing and running downhill to mimic Sugarloaf but it was so foggy that I didn’t think it would be wise to run it.  Most of the route is on a busy road with minimal shoulder space.  We still had some hills on the alternative route because there’s no way to avoid hills entirely in my town.  They are everywhere!

Planned 8 miles, easy

Actual: 9 miles because we were talking too much for me to notice when we were 4.5 miles from my house. Opps I did it again!

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com


Four easy recovery miles in a wind that hit me in the face no matter what direction I ran.  How is that even possible?

We didn’t have any big plans for the morning so I slipped away to the A.M. Morning Flow Yoga class at the studio.  It was the perfect way to cap off a successful week of running!

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Linking up with Ilka/Angela and Hoho/Tricia for the weekly workout wrap up.

How was your week in workouts?


High Five Friday

High Five Friday February 24 2017 happyfitmama.com

Happy High Five Friday!

Remember last week when I was loving/complaining about all the snow we were getting dumped with?  What a difference a week makes!  It’s been an absolute gorgeous week with temps in the 50s and 60s.  I love winter but I’ve got some serious spring fever right now!

5 from Instagram – I share more pics on Instagram.  Are you following me?  Please do!

1 ) Winter warrior.  How was this just a week ago?

2 ) I’m usually a solid legging kind of girl.  I decided to get out of my comfort zone and get crazy with a print.  I’m so glad I did!  These capri’s (which are more like legging length for me) are awesome.  The print is so cute and they are the perfect legging for yoga.  I’ll be sharing more of the new prAna spring line soon.  FYI – you can get 15% off your order from prAna.com with code S4P17HFM at checkout!

3 ) Snowshoe racing aka slogging with tennis racquets strapped to your feet.

4 ) The sunrise and sunsets have been on point this week.

5 ) Chillin’ in our backyard igloo that we Ron made. :)

5 Things

1 ) Fitness Charities to Inspire You – Love this list from Carly.  I know since the election, I’ve felt the need to donate more and just plain DO more for good causes.  If you want to help out a fitness philanthropy that empowers, inspires and improves the lives of children, disabled athletes and US veterans through running and fitness, this list is for you!

2 ) What Happened When I Started Meditating Before Each Run – Can I see a raise of hands of how many people say they would like to meditate more?  My hand is raised high as I’m sure it is for the majority of you. Running is like a moving meditation for me so do I really need to meditate before I run? Apparently -> “I slowed down in my mind but my legs kept their pace.”

3 ) I Wore JNCO Jeans for Seven Days to Find Myself – This is nothing related to running, fitness or healthy living but is freakin’ hilarious.  I remember the JNCO trend from the 90s and early 2000s. Thankfully, I never had a pair nor did I ever want a pair. The author of this article did and it’s quite hilarious to read his account of reliving the bad fashion of that era.

4 ) Kicking Up Dirt – The author of this echos my feelings on trails.  Road running seems to have lost its luster to me. The trails make me feel like a kid again.  Who doesn’t want that?

5 ) How to Run 100 Miles – I don’t want to run 100 miles.  No thanks.  But the moral of this post is not that everyone SHOULD run 100 miles.  It’s that everyone should set big goals for themselves and push for those goals.  Whatever they are – > “Anyone can genuinely learn how to seek and push their own limits. Because life might just be the greatest ultra of all.”

What would you like to High 5 today?