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Mind Games, Mental Diversions, Running Tricks

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:14pm

Earlier this week, I caught a run with my running friend Art.  Being the top notch-nothing- can-stop-us-athletes we are, we went for a run in the 95 degree, 85% humidity at 4:30 in the afternoon.  Great company, fantastic trail, miserable weather!   

During the run, there were definitely a few points when I wanted to stop, call a cab, have a beer and forget the whole running thing.  Our running conversation was good - but we needed a little something more to get us to the end.  I rummaged around in my "I want to stopDig_deep_signrunning butI want to get this run over with" bag of tricks to find a couple that would work for us.   Here were a few I tried:

  • Run-as-slow-as-you possibly-can technique.   Slow my pace down to a trot that feels much too slow and try to hold it.   After a short amount of time, my body slowly and gradually accelerates until I was back at a comfortable pace.   It feels mentally better than walking and physically it gave me a little break.
  • I-could-be-doing-something-way-worse mental exercise.  I think of things that I do or have done that are a ton worse than trying to get through a mile of running.   Insanely boring meetings at work, long car rides with screaming kids, cleaning out the refrigerator, changing a kids bed in the middle of the night, going to the grocery store.  The list is so long and always reminds me how much I like running compared to nonrunning things.
  • Think-about-someone-who-has-conquered-greater-running-challenges perspective.  There is a great list of runners who inspire me through their stories and accomplishment.  It's one of those - if they can do THAT, then I should be able to do THIS - trains of thought.   Well known people like Terry Fox or Team Hoyt.   Or lesser known runners to the world, but incredible to me like Brad who recently ran across Iowa, Coach Potato to Ironman's amazing journey of triathlons and inspiring others along the way, or Rob and his "inner defiance" (I love that term!).

(WOAH!  Just found one more motivator!  At least I am notdragging a REAL tirearound likeBob!)

On tap this weekend is a longer bike/run combo, going well over the 2 hour mark.   It is going to be hell hot and humid so I need some new tricks up my sweaty sleeves.   I am not only battling my foes of weather and wind, I also have a highly deficient patience reserve.  If patience was water, you could pick me up with my head in one hand and feet in the other and wring me out like a washcloth, and would still need to bring in a forensic scientist to detect even a trace of patience.  I will need some patience to make it through the long session and my mind is catching onto the games I have played in the past.

I need to tap into your collective wisdom.  Any great advice that gets you through your long(er) runs?

Photo by purplespace

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