Recently my friend, Carie, told me that sometimes she has trouble staying mentally motivated during her runs, and asked me if I had any tips to help keep her going. I shared with her a few things that help me, and also wanted to share them with you. I know that running can be as much a mental challenge as it can be a physical test of strength. Many times I've felt like my body could keep going, but my mind wanted to stop! I still have a lot to learn, but this is what I've experienced so far.
- 1. Talk to yourself
If you read my previous post, I mention how in the 14th mile I was talking to myself. I was saying things like "You can do this, Katie. You're so strong. You can do anything! You've come this far, don't stop now. Think how awesome you'll feel when it's over!" And so on. That helps me so much. And who cares if people think I'm crazy! ;)
- 2. Break it up
This is another thing I do on my long runs. For instance, for my 15 miles, I just told myself I would run 5 miles 3 times. I normally run around the same quarter of a mile path a million times, and that doesn't bother me at all. But this time every 5 miles, I would find a new path, to change things up a little bit.
- 3. Use your imagination
When things are getting rough, I think about the GOOD I'm doing for my body by running, I imagine my legs getting stronger and more muscular. I imagine what I'm going to look like when I reach my goal weight. I imagine how I'll feel when I cross the finish line of my first marathon (gulp)! I imagine what it'll feel like having that medal placed around my neck. I even imagine seeing the clock at the finish line, and it's under my goal time. And of course I imagine the big bowl of icecream I'm going to eat. :)
- 4. Distract yourself
Take attention away from how you're feeling, and focus on everything outside of your body. I try to focus on other runners, or spectators (if you're in a race). I'll think about my next blog post, I pray and ask God for strength. I just try not to think about the aches and pains!
I know there are many more, these are just a few things that work for me.
What helps you mentally during your runs? Do you have anymore tips?