Here are some simple mind tricks that help to get me through hard/long runs.
On any run, no matter what length it is or the level of runner you are there will always be a moment when you have that little element of doubt, that feeling that you’ve went out too fast or that you want to pack it in.
This should be true of all races as you should really be pushing to your maximum levels to achieve the best results.
Every race that I do I think at some point that I will just pack it in and head home, its too hard, ive gone too fast and I dont want to feel like this anymore.
That surprises people sometimes and its hard to see what the attraction is but ill try and explain.
I had a 5k race in Edinburgh last year, it was one lap around Arthurs Seat, a hilly course but scenic. I aimed for a time of sub 20mins, it was ambitious given the elevation on the course. I set off running 5 min 36 second per mile pace and half way up the hill blew apart. I was in first place but was soon overtaken by and slipped into second.
As I reached the top of the hill I thought my heart was going to burst and that I would collapse at any minute. The desire to give up and go home was all that I could think of. Somehow I had to rid myself of the negative thoughts.
Here are a few ways in which I did this…
1. Visualise the end
2. Think of the downhill
3. Think of previous runs up this hill, especially when I was just beginning racing and had just given up the cigarettes. Comparing where I was now to where I had come from would surely motivate me to the finish.
4. Break it down into whatever kind of manageable section you can digest.
5. Fix your eyes in front and let them go into a daze, block out all around you and concentrate on breathing.
6. If your behind someone try and stick with them, match their stride, its amazing how long you can keep going when you focus on the person in front. “If he can do it then so can I” I used this mentality at a recent Ultra in Aberdeen, a 66 year old man was in front of me in the race!
7. Give yourself a talking to, out loud if you have to, ive seen myself running hard and swearing at myself for being so weak, push it out and keep mentally strong.
8. Music – Not something I really listen to on runs but if your into running with it playing then that can help block out the pain.
There are many more, what are your tricks for getting through a rough patch??? Its always interesting to hear what motivated other people to keep going when the chips are down.
I finished that race in 3rd place in 19minutes 49 seconds, I felt like hell as I crossed the line but 5 minutes later all I was left with was a feeling of satisfaction that I had given my best and overcome the doubts.
You can use these experiences to pull you through every challenge you face. “I did it once i can do it again, or better it.”
Hope this has been useful information.
Please comment, id be really interested to have your thoughts and if you dont feel pain either mental or physical during a race your not trying hard enough!
“Sometimes you’ve got to go through hell to get to heaven.” Dean Karnazes