Follow my journey from being overweight and addicted to ice cream, to running marathon's!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mental Tips for Running and Nature Box Winner!

Congrats to Megan, at I run for wine for winning my Nature Box giveaway! I've sent you an email!

 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?
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26 comments

  1. I usually just try to break it down to seem less daunting....like when I hit the wall at my first half at just before the 10 mile marker. I just kept telling myself I just had to do a 5k and I do them 2 a week all year long so easy peasy right?!? It may or may not have helped but the time I spent trying to get it to work distracted me from the agony I was in.

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    1. That totally helps me too, especially saying I only have a 5k left, and I do that all that time! It does take your mind off the agony!

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  2. I applaud you for being able to run the same route multiple times in the same run (and wow a quarter mile path --- that's ALOT of repeats!)...I have to run as far away as I can and then turn around and make myself run home because if I do loops I will want to quit :-)

    One thing I tell myself is "you can rest when you're done"

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    1. It is a LOT of repeats. But it's the only way I've ever done my long runs, so I guess I don't know what I'm missing! That's a great thing to tell yourself, a good reminder!

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  3. When I was training for the marathon last fall, I found that breaking my long runs up into shorter loops made them much less intimidating. Running a 6 mile loop 3 times was much easier on me mentally than running 18 miles in one shot. Plus I made sure that loop went past my house so I could replenish supplies. I also talk to myself a lot in those last miles. Sure, I probably scare my neighbors, but it helps.

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    1. That's a great idea. Glad I'm not the only one who talks to myself! ;)

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  4. I always pray and ask God for strength! Sometimes that is the only way I can finish my run once I've started! I also think that the treadmill (or "dreadmill" as I call it) doesn't help my negative mind once I start running because I'm inside and I can't lose my mind on my surroundings. I miss my long outside runs! I'm looking forward to spring! Until then, I'll be using your tips to help me stay sane! :)

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    1. I would definitely rather be outside, than on the tm! The most I've run on it was 8 miles, and I don't know if I could ever do that again! I can't wait for Spring either!!

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  5. I always try to distract myself on runs. I mostly think about writing or travelling. And, um, lip-synching and pretending I'm a rock start also happens a lot :P lol

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    1. You pretend to be a rockstar too? Lol! I do that a lot too, and then quickly realize someone might see me! But whatever it takes to get through it!

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  6. From time to time I think I've probably done all of them. Sometimes I'll have a full conversation in my mind with myself about a subject just to take my mind off the run. Whatever it takes to get that time in!

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    1. Lol! I do that sometime too. Oh we runners are an interesting bunch!! ;)

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  7. Love all your tips and have used them all too!! I also have to remind myself not to compare myself to other runners!!

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    1. I have to remind myself of that too. It's so hard! Especially when other runners are passing me by. But comparing ourselves gets us nowhere, so we gotta stop doing that!

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  8. Music is huge for me. I love it, so running with it (in a safe environment) is always motivating.

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    1. It is for me too. I had to turn off my music the last couple miles because my phone battery was almost dead. I think that made it even more difficult!

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  9. I like to make a banging playlist and strategically place slower songs in the beginning to not go too fast and strong ones at the end to keep me going....then sing them all! ;)

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    1. That's a great idea!! I've never even thought of doing that. Oh yes, I love singing to them all too!

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  10. GREAT Tips!! I talk to myself all the time when I am running. I find its a good distraction. ;-)

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    1. It definitely works for me! And I'm sure that's the only time we ever talk to ourselves, right Cinnamon?? ;)

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  11. Great tips!

    I talk to myself a lot, and I also find myself doing a lot of simple math - trying to figure out exactly my pace or how far I still need to go. It's hard to explain how when I'm typing this, but numbers somehow fill my head when I'm running.

    Distraction is good, too! ;)

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    1. I hate math, so that would be the last thing on my mind! Lol! ;)

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  12. I'm so excited for my Nature Box! Thanks again for the contest :) PS, I always talk to myself when I run.

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    1. Congrats again, girl! You'll love it.
      Glad I'm not the only one! ;)

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  13. When I trained for my half marathon I ran it with a couple friends, and I made them hold me accountable. I would run and text them my results. So i ended up being really hard on myself when I ran, telling myself, "You can't stop now, how will you ever admit this to Philip? You want him to think you're awesome! You want to be proud when you text him how you did! Don't stop now or you'll suck!" Doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me! Now I'm training for a 203 mile relay at the end of March and I'm doing something similar. I just have to pick one friend to hold me accountable. Shame is a great motivator! lol

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    1. I think that's great! You gotta do whatever it takes to get through it! I can't imagine a 203 mile relay!! That's impressive!

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