Monday, January 23, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger

Before I start today's post, I just want to let you all know about my guest post on Laura's blog, Mommy, Run Fast! She is doing a series on purposeful running and my post kicked it off. If you have been reading my blog for awhile you may have read a similar post, but still go check it out. While you're at it start reading Laura's blog, if you don't already!



Yesterday Mike and I ran 8 miles. It was our first long run in a little while, since January 1st to be more exact. My body was ready, for the most part, but my mind wasn't in top form unfortunately.

When my brother and I were swimmers, my mom would always tell us that the sport was 90% mental and 10% physical. She would also say that the body achieves what the mind believes. My mom is one smart lady.

When I look back on my swimming career there is one thing that I wish I had worked on a little bit more, my mental toughness. Sure I could have taken lifting weights a little bit more seriously or actually tried to run in college when it was required (I got out of it and did core work instead), but there were too many times to count that I would cry as soon as I saw the time on the board. My mentality played a huge role in that behavior.

I know that this frustrated my parents, my coaches, my teammates and myself. I do not want the same thing to happen as a runner and triathlete. I have already frustrated myself and Mike with my behavior because of my lack of mental toughness.

The thing is I know that I am physically strong enough, sure I am going to have to train and ramp up to a certain mileage but I CAN do it. Yet, my mind plays tricks on me sometimes and tries to convince me that I am not strong enough.

Yesterday's run was HILLY and .25 miles into it I was already having negative thoughts. I am scared of injuring myself again but I know that I am better trained for hills this time. Poor Mike had to listen to me complain while running up Cobb's Hill, Highland Hill and Mt. Hope Hill.

One time I let my mentality defeat me and I had to stop and walk up Highland Hill. After this short moment of weakness, I pulled myself together (for the most part) and finished the run.

During the last few miles I was singing "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" by Kelly Clarkson in my head (since I don't run with music). I realized that while this run was tough, I am going to be a better runner because of it. I am already working on my mental toughness and when that is in top form, everything else will fall into place.


Since after all, my mom is right, it is 90% mental and 10% physical.

How do you overcome a moment of mental weakness?

14 comments:

  1. Just focus on the goal of the day- for all of the marathons, I just stayed focused on finishing 26.2- never gave up- and finished all 10 of them!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your sweet words, Jamie! I'm glad I get to follow your journey. This is such a great post--thanks for your honesty, too. Mental toughness is an ongoing challenge. I think I doubt myself almost every time I race, and on many long runs (especially solo ones). It gets better as you go along, because you KNOW you can do it, you've done it before. But some days we just have a bad run, and that' okay, too. Having a mantra (or a song in your head, like you did) is a great way to overcome it. Running with encouraging people, like your husband, can help too! Way to push through your run!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura!

      I try to have something to tell myself whenever a run is difficult for me and I am starting to accept that not every run is going to be amazing!

      Delete
  3. I agree with Laura and Joan - focus on the task at hand. It helps me a great deal to break up the run into shorter distances, e.g if you're on mile 4 of a 12 mile run, tell yourself that 2 more loops is nothing, you're 1/3 of the way through, etc. Also, if I start getting mentally weak I literally have a conversation with myself. "KRISTIN, WOMAN UP ALREADY!" (No seriously, that's how I tough love myself!) I also have no qualms with stopping, breathing to re-focus, and continuing on.

    Sometimes the wheels will start to come off and if they haven't yet, they will. Every runner goes through it and you know what? It's totally ok! It's ok not to have the greatest run every single day you're out there. Focus on getting through it and all the rest will fall into place. :) - Kristin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, Kristin you crack me up! I say similar things to myself, don't worry.

      I have definitely done the breaking a run up into chunks and it has helped before.

      Delete
  4. I totally agree with everything in this post, that's why I never understand haters in this community... optimism is AMAZING!!!!! I love dreaming and if I don't succeed, oh well. :)

    I loved Kristin's comment I completely agree ;) don't worry girl, you've got it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ali! I have a feeling that you are going to succeed!

      Delete
  5. I read your post on Laura's blog and had to come check your blog out! Running is SO mental!! I always try to remind myself that every runner has bad runs, and getting back out there for the next run is what matters. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for checking my blog out! It is tough to remember that everyone has a bad day, but once we accept that we can move on and improve!

      Delete
  6. I almost always break up my run into either 1 or 2 mile segments. If it is particularly tough, I just focus on completing the next mile (or even segment of familiar course, then cling onto the next mile or segment and go for that). Thinking too far ahead always feels a bit defeating for me when I'm having "one of those days".

    Another thing I do is something I did this morning (even though it went well and was fun), and that is to mentally replay the current run from the beginning up to where you are. Making the replay last a bit takes you completely out of your current situation, and focuses on something recently accomplished. I "re-ran" my run during my run at least twice this morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion Michael!

      I agree that you can't think too far ahead, especially if the run isn't going the way you want it to. It makes it feel that much more impossible!

      Delete
  7. Read this post before I went into the hospital and I have to say it got me through some really tough times the 3 days I was there...I have a lot of recovery left and I know that I will keep this post in my head and I will be running (even though I can barely walk right now!) soon!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will be back up and running again soon, mom! I'm glad that it helped get you through, but you are strong so I doubt you needed it!

      Delete