“Please remember you have to test yourself as long as you are not injuring yourself. Your mind has to be trained to go beyond what you believe it can.” -Coach Dror

I’ve written this post in my head a few times now and it only makes sense, since lately, I’ve been living in my head. I’ve been through this before. After an injury or an extended break from running, the mental side can be cumbersome and at times, tougher than the run itself.

I’ve noticed my thoughts are the worst when I know a hard effort is expected. I’ll get nervous before track and grumpy before a tempo. I’ll try to talk myself out of doing both. Hell, a week ago, I told the S.O. I wanted to go run on a treadmill instead because of rain. A treadmill! Can you believe that? I’m ashamed to write that down but he knew what I was doing and of course, after I stayed and had a great workout, he got to say, “I told you so.”
This week at track was different because I have been making progress and I’ve been telling myself to hang in there. I am my own worst enemy and when I showed up Tuesday and saw the workout I had to laugh. The workout was five by 1,200 with varying difficulty. Yup. My LEAST favorite distance on the track. The dreaded 1,200. I told myself that I’d just do my best and that’s all I could do. It’s really all any of us can do. I mean, I’m not trying for the Olympics here so no one will actually be devastated if one of those 1,200’s is a couple of seconds off.
The workout was tough. It was hot and humid out and my paces reflected that. A few were under the targeted pace, and a few were over. However, I mentally felt stronger than I have in a long while. I didn’t hide from this workout and I followed some good advice to take it one lap at a time. *Ahem, S.O.*
It’s funny because I had this post in the hopper before that track workout and immediately after it, as we all stood around talking about how tough it was coach Dror hit on some interesting stuff. When he mentioned wanting to pass any person who ran faster than he did, it struck a chord with me because I rarely feel that way about the pace group I run with at track. More often than not, I’m either thinking, “I hope they can help pull me along” or “I hope I we’re running the right pace.” I certainly think differently at a race. But then again, I usually look at people who pass me and think, “Are they in my age group?” and “Good for them.” I don’t know if this is right or wrong but it couldn’t hurt for me to be a little more competitive with anyone passing me regardless of their age or gender.
Ultimately, we/I have to be reminded that we do this for fun. And even though I can beat myself up before a workout, I always feel great afterward. All that being said, it is interesting to look and listen to where our minds go during tough times. I’ve used mantras before and I have one that always seems to help when I’m in a bad way. It’s super cheesy, but I’ll tell you what it is. Don’t laugh. I repeat the words, “Strong. Powerful. Tough.” I chose those words because I don’t ever really truly feel that way. Honestly. If I had my druthers, my mantra would be “Tired. Sweaty. Sucky.” Ha!

Now that I’ve laid out all some of my mental issues, what do you all suffer with mentally while running or racing? How do you quiet the negative talk in your mind? Do you even worry about any of this? I’m so interested in this topic. I’d love the feedback, so spill it.