Everyone knows that long-distance running is primarily a mental game. Sure you need to be physically conditioned to get through it without injury, but mostly, you’re head needs to be in the right place to get anywhere. This is a constant struggle for me, as I consistently suffer from self-doubt – even though I’ve proven capable at running some pretty far distances. Speed doesn’t even come into it. Of course I have my goals, but mostly I’m concerned about even FINISHING a run I’ve done a million times before.
Individual runs, like a whole training cycle, have its ups and downs. Here’s what typically runs through my head as I progress toward an average, Saturday morning 6 a.m. run 10-mile run.
10 minutes before run: What the hell am I doing? I could be in bed right now. I’m exhausted and the thought of running 1:30+ if just daunting.
Miles 1 – 3: Ugh, I am going way too slow. Is this entire thing going to be uphill? If I continue to go this pace and feel this tight, I won’t make it home before lunch.
Miles 3 – 5: Okay, so right now I don’t feel like I want to detour to Coffee Bean and beg to use the phone to call my husband to pick me up. But I still have more to run than not to run.
Miles 6 – 7: Feeling good. In a groove. Flat roads and warm up miles will do that to you. More than halfway there.
Miles 8 – 9: I. AM. AMAZING. I COULD RUN FOREVER. I AM SO FAST. I AM SO HARDCORE.
Mile 10: But… but… I am so close. Why will it still take me nine minutes to get there? I already proved that I am the best runner ever the last two miles, so why do I have to bother with this last one? Okay, I’ll pick up the pace for the last minute, but only because I’m that much closer to a bagel and cream cheese.
Five minutes post run: Holy crap. I just ran 10 miles before 9 a.m. I am seriously the best.
15 minutes post run: Man, I was way too slow/too fast too early/out of breath/sore/enter other critique here.
So it’s not all bad. But not all good either. I don’t think I’m the only runner who suffers from this kind of self-critique. While having an honest look at your training is important if you desire any type of improvement, sometimes it’s better to focus on the feeling of miles 8-9, rather than other the other white noise. That’s my goal. Join me, won’t you?