3 mind hacks to keep running from sucking
That’s what you get out of the next 3 minutes…
So… You’ve decided to run a 5k or even a half marathon. You realize you haven’t run serious distances in a while or… ever. What three things can kickstart your mental game and get you race ready?
Welp… I have decided to do the GoRuck Star Course as my CSAUP (completely stupid and utterly pointless) event in 2019.
The event is a 50 Mile waypoint course carrying a rucksack with at least 20 lbs of steel. Basically… a weighted Ultra Race.
After being sidelined with an injury from September until December I’m a little rusty. Ok. A lot rusty… and anxious to get started.
Starting over felt like drudgery today. What happened to my enjoyable morning runs? Where did this weight in my chest come from? When will the bad stuff stop?
I went for a longer run today. Six miles was the aim. As I began to run I thought through each of these questions.
Then I remembered…
I have to push through and endure. I have to get over the “I’m gonna die” hump in my mind. After realizing my brain was trying to keep me comfortable, the cloudiness in my memory began to clear.
That’s when I remembered the three things that take me from dying… to dying to run. They are mind tricks that work.
- Builds on little wins
- Headlights – focus on no more than 30 meters ahead
- Measure time running instead of distance
Builds on little wins
Running is as much a mental game as it is physical. Keeping a positive outlook can be the key to success in adding base mileage. One way to do that is to celebrate and build on little wins.
“I have already hit a mile.” “I have been moving consistently for 20 minutes already.” Or “I just ran 3 miles without stopping.”
Here are examples of building little wins:
- Buy Running Shoes
- Put clothes out the night before
- Run for a set number of minutes without stopping
- Start with 2 days a week
- Then 4 days a week
- Try a distance goal next
- Add a distance in a set time to your list
- Enjoy a race
Want a little win right now?
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Headlights – focus on no more than 20 meters ahead
Staying positive when building your base can also mean something as simple as not being negative.
One way I have pulled this off is through the “Headlights” concept.
When driving at night down a country road you can only see as far as your headlights extend in front of your car. It keeps your eyes glued to the road in order to stay focused.
Concentrating on only about 20 meters in front of you when running can keep you from being demotivated.
When you focus on things that are farther there is a tendency to become overwhelmed with the remaining distance you have to run.
Trimming your focus to 20 meters or less can add to the little wins and boost your endurance physically and mentally.
Measure time instead of distance
Running for time instead of distance is such a game changer when
you are starting out. It can
be intimidating to hear others talk about running long distances. Especially when you
are starting out.
Beginning with a goal of just moving for a certain amount of time can help to build on the little wins, but it also does something else. You are conditioning your body for the impact and endurance you will need as you chase your goals of running a race.
Running for time instead of distance helps to make the simple 2 degree shift needed to overcome the early obstacles without pushing yourself to injury.
Running is an exciting challenge. Building your base mileage can help you enjoy the challenge more without dreading the “work”. Build your base with quick and dirty tactics to beat the running blues will make the work fun. Build on little wins, keep your focus within the headlights, and think “time under tension” when getting started. You will build a base in just a few weeks.
I hope these three little tidbits help you with your running game. I would love to hear your tips & tricks to better, longer running. Leave a comment and share your wisdom!
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