Strengthen your mental toughness for race day.
Are you a lone wolf, running solo all of the time or are you a social runner who is constantly chatting to other runners and your club mates? This post is explicitly for you if you are the latter who loves running with others, specifically when it comes to your long runs. Regardless of whether you are a novice doing the half marathon, or the ultra for the first time, or a blue number wearer - we all have to put in some very long sessions.
I must confess that I am a lone wolf runner. I do run with club mates occasionally and when I am facilitating my leadership development programs, the attendees know they can meet me at 6 am, rain or shine, for a morning run to exercise their physical muscles before we work on the mental muscles. During those runs, and whenever I bump into a friend during a normal training session, I really do enjoy the company.
People often tell me, “I could never run for so long without any company. It would drive me nuts to run for such a long time. The k’s fly when I am chatting or suffering together with others, even more when we are in the last part of the run.”
I understand because I feel the same.
It’s mentally draining to run for such a long time and so chatting to somone helps to keep the inner voices quiet. You know the voices, the ones asking you what the hell you are doing running for such a long time. The ones telling you that you are tired and grumpy and don’t want to run anymore.
I want to challenge you to run at least two of your long runs in solitude. Hear me out and let me explain.
You see, when you line up on race day the start music will play and so full of excitement and verve you will have planned to run the course with all your running buddies. It’s a great plan but what happens when your mate begins to slow down or, horror of horrors, you do? Suddenly you are on your own, facing an unfamiliar and very uncomfortable situation having to listen to your own scary voices.
It is the voice telling you to slow down and then slow down even more. Telling you to quit and call it a day. Now if you’ve never run on your own, then how would you be able to develop strategies to tackle the voices and keep on running? The training runs are not only made to strengthen your muscles, but also your mind.
I want to encourage you to do those solo runs. Go on your own all the way and listen to your body, your inner voices and the changes in your mood. I urge you not to listen to music while doing this.
This session is about developing stamina on two levels: physical and mental. You might already have the physical aspects down, but a race is completed with your mind.
Train it and you improve your chances to complete your race no matter what situations arise.
Remember; you run the race with your legs, but you finish it with your mind – so exercise both of them appropriately.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below…