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Relearning the Mental Sport of Running

Running is not just physical, it is also mental, especially when you are getting back into it from an injury or illness. Over the last few years, I lost all of my fitness and have started from scratch since August. It was a tough realization that my body needed help. You can read the whole story here.

My mind wanted to go but my body just didn't. It was exhausted. Since I have started getting help, things are getting better. My muscles are sore again. I know some of you are wondering why that is a celebration. Who wants to be sore? Honestly, I relish my sore muscles. It means I have worked hard. For the last few years, I didn't have muscles when I attempted to run. My body was so exhausted, it would start running intervals, but a mile in, it would walk with some very short, very spread out running intervals. Afterwards, I would be exhausted all day. Since I have gotten help, I have felt my muscles work. I amazed myself at pushing to stay consistent during miles 11 to 13 during the Space Coast Half Marathon.

This weekend, I had a short run with new intervals with less rest. The first two felt great. Then my head began to wonder how I was going to make two more intervals of this.

I told myself, I didn't have to go fast that I just had to run. My watch beeped and I picked my feet up. Think about it this way I told myself, pick a pace you can hold all day. If you feel like picking it up great, but if not you still will have run the whole interval. The music played in my ears and I kept putting one foot in front of the other. This is how you get better, one step at a time, I reminded myself.

My watch beeped taking me out of my thoughts. I slowed to a walk. One more, I have totally got this I told myself. Time to run. I made sure my breathing was good, put one foot in front of the other. Oh my legs hurt. Come on just finish it, you are done with long intervals after this one. I looked at my watch and sighed I was only halfway. Maybe a new song will help. I pushed the button twice on the side of my Shokz headphones to get a new song to push me to the end.

Two sidenotes:

  1. If you are training for a triathlon, headphones are not allowed on the course. I like to use them for training to make the miles go by faster. For me, I don't miss them during races, because I like being soaked in the atmosphere of racing. There is usually so much going on.

  2. If you haven't tried Shokz headphones, they are worth the money. The go on the outside of your ears so you can hear what's going on around you and still hear your music. Unfortunately in the world we live in, we have to be careful. These will help and fulfill your need for music. (Not a sponsored post)

Back to running, just keep going I told myself. One foot in front of the other. I looked down again, this feels so long, I told myself. Finally, I heard my watch beep again. I had made all the intervals and can't wait until they are faster and longer. Running fully has become fun and a challenge again.

"It's going to come down to who wants it more and who has done the mental training." Lionel Sanders

There is so much truth to this. We have seen it in several Professional Races. To do your best, you have to overcome the fact you're tired, wondering why you did this, and trust your training. One of my favorite races I have ever watched was the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2014. Mirinda Carfrae had a deficit of 14 minutes on the marathon part of the race. Rather than say it just wasn't her day, she modified her race plan, made up the deficit and ended up winning the race. It just proves you can't give up until the finish line, because you never know what you are capable of.

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