Head Games

I finally got outside for a run this morning.  It was cold, I think 8°F.  I was looking forward to it all week, but when I got out there, it didn’t go as planned.   I had no energy.  I was running like my feet had bricks tied to my running shoes.   My stomach was bothering me for most of the run too.  It was a bad run.  I kind of wanted to stop.

Most of the time I was concerned that today’s run was nothing but junk miles.    That is when you are running with no purpose than just say you ran.  These miles do not add to your training and can even hurt it if they start to add up.   I tried to add smaller goals to give this run some substance.   Improve my form, attack the hill, charge down the hill* or pick up the pace.  Anything, but run with my feet dragging on the wintry street.  Nothing seemed to help.

Today’s training was not going to be the normal physical exercise, but would be just as valuable.  It was mental training.    When things start to go wrong during a long run, your mind can start to take you out of the game very quickly.  You start to dwell on maybe an injury, the distance ahead of you, or any other self-defeating thoughts.   You feel like you cannot finish and your only option is to quit.  This is why you need bad training days.  Luckily, I have been doing marathons and triathlons for a few years now, which means I had a lot of opportunities for some mental training.   

Here is my “mental” checklist:

  • Figure out if I still have all my body parts and they seem to be
    working (for the most part)
  • Check if I am having another one of those dreams where someone dressed
    in an Elmo costume keeps tripping me before I can get to the finish line
  • Slow things down and reassure myself that I’m fine
  • Ask if I’ve been drinking and properly fueling during the run
  • Make small goals (next mile, next water stop)
  • Remind myself I can do this
  • Most importantly, I have to beat Elmo!

Although I did not run well today, I can say today’s miles were definitely not junk.    Tomorrow I get to rest and more importantly go to the DFMC party.  Seeing you and the rest of the runners and partners will definitely be my spur.

I hope you are feeling better and see you tomorrow!

-Patrick

* note – sprinting up and down the hills was not the smartest thing to do on an icy road. 

RM: 7.25 (King Phillip’s Hill Run)
WM: 32.35
TM:  91.95

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