The Mental Game

I have two other blogs that I write at the moment and it seems like they have all been focused, in one way or another, on the idea of the Mental Game...the thing that keeps you motivated and can shoot you down the fastest, the creature that lives in your head...we all know how it goes.


There's always this moment of bliss for me when I start something new, before the accomplishments/goals/expectations can hit..when I'm just doing something that I've never done before and I'm in that testing zone...all doors are open, all things are possible and idea that I can "fail" isn't really there because I don't even know if I'm going to like the thing I'm trying or have any interest in pursuing it, or whatever.


I want to live my life in that stage with all things--I want to learn how to train myself to keep my options open and keep the idea of failure out of it.  More specifically, I'd like to find a way to come to peace with the little demon that lives in my head that gets sick of running before my physical self is sick of running.


This has been the battle the past few runs--I'm going along and everything is fine and then mentally, I just quit...and the rest of the run isn't very enjoyable and it's nowhere near what I could or have done because I'm just not plugged in mentally.  It's really frustrating.  I have been overworked and stressed out lately and I keep turning to my physical activities as a good way to center myself and find some "me time"...and it's been working for the most part--except when I just totally lose focus and have to fight my way through the allotted amount of time I've scheduled for my run or my yoga class or whatever.


I feel like fighting through it is better than just giving up on and letting my brain win--I tend to adhere to the philosophy that says my Motivation/Spirit is just a big muscle that needs to be stressed and worked out and pushed so that it becomes what we know it can be...but boy does it fight back hard!


So, I've got a run planned for my lunch break today and we're going to see how it goes.  It comes back to that whole "ask nothing from your running" line from Born to Run...I'm just going to run.  I'm going to run until my body says stop and if my mind tries to interfere, well..hopefully it doesn't win the day.


I've also found that a good way to shut my Motivation up is to buy a shiny new pair of shoes perhaps before lunch I will do that...the vibrams are getting worn out (I have a hole in the toe! w00t!)  (c:



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  • Rebecca: I think you're definitely on to something. I am not a fan of religious groups or religion either but I have found that in the toughest parts of the run or training if I can stop and be grateful that I have the luxury to be doing any of it all...running, suffering, whatever it is, I can keep going. Things have been better lately for sure. I made some lifestyle changes in addition to some running changes and I think they are feeding off of each other in good ways. Thanks for the well wishes! :-)
  • I have been training really hard all summer for 3 major events for me (considering am a novice to running). The Swissalpine K30, Jungfrau Marathon and NYC Marathon. The night before Swissalpine I was feeling really nervous but I went to a talk by a group called Athletes in Action. I am not a religious person and nor am I a fan of organised religion- but their positive energy and happy,  kind thoughts for themselves, the race, and fellow runners really rubbed off on me and I have never ran so happy. I smiled the entire race and I finished the 30ks in 2:30 and came 9th overall women (still smiling).  Their 'run happy, run with gratitude' views stayed with me and last weekend I finished the Jungfrau mountain marathon in 5:00 which is a time beyond my wildest dreams (people kept telling me to just try and make the 6:30 cut off time because as a beginner I wouldnt be able to do much more).  I kept that happy, positive feeling through the toughest parts of the run.  I dont know what works physically for each person and I have very little experience but I really believe that those people that night helped me to smile my way to goals I thought were totally unobtainable to me. Good luck everyone and I hope you find your happy running.

  • I haven't worked on speed or logged my runs in a while.  I'll give it a shot and see if it does the trick.  Thanks

  • are somethings to try.
    - create a goal that will create day to day purpose
    - run the same routes intervals, slower, mix if up
    - visualize doing something extraordinary with your running DURING these "boring" runs
    - take time off....its ok to run less for awhile.
    - take time to work on form and become totally aware of your running
    - run these same routes at night with headlamp
    - run for shorter time but faster
    - start doing a run log
    MAKE A GOAL! Plan to train to do something you dont think u can. Dont worry about whether you can or not, just start and see what happens!
    Let us know what u are thinking.
  • I'm in the same boat.  It's not during the run, but before.  As much as I love running, I've run all the routes from and around my house, and I've become bored with them.  I tried a new route about 40 min. away, and had a great run, but it's not something I can do every day.  Can anyone comment on how to regain my motivation, even though I can't really change the routes that I run?

  • lol.  Sounds like an adventure!  I would love to run WYCO--sooo I have a scooter at the moment--I can get most anywhere so long as it's not only accessible via major highways (I ride to Lawrence a lot and I just take K32).  Thursday at 6pm works great for me--I'll message you my email address and phone number so we can connect.

  • Hey, I ran at SM Park last night. Very rocky technical trails. Not hilly. The group had a variety of pace groups and distances and was very welcoming. I'll probably go out there again.

    I was told that the trails at WYCO are less technical, hilly and need a weed whacker! I'm not doing the Thursday night run out there this week but I'm definitely going to go there next Thursday. Wanna give it a go? We can be newbies together... Starts at 6:00. I can PM you the details if you are in.

  • a blank comment! Ok, let's try that again (c: @Bobby: Definitely a big part of it--running on my lunch break used to mean going out to the dreaded track or running on pavement in Super Suburbia--I think this had a lot to do with the motivation. I'm shaking things up this week with some CO mountain biking though! (c:
    @Melinda: I would love to! I am game for trying any new trail or space--and I can make Thursday evenings work no problem. Things are calmer now that I only have 1 job hehe.
    @Eric: Yessir! I'm guessing more information about where/how to acquire/try out the nifty new shoe line is forthcoming? I'm definitely looking forward to it!

  • I like to go on different running routes. I even chuck the stopwatch/gps and just have fun with the run itself. It helps my motivation. If that helps.
  • Larissa, let's try to do a run together soon. Maybe running together would get you out of your head. Lord knows I need a distraction from the 3rd circle of hell heat we've been having.

    FWIW, I did the Trail Nerds 2.8 Summer Intro with my son last Saturday out at WYCO lake. I really liked the little bit of the trail system I saw. They are running out there on Thursday nights at 6 PM. They also have a run at 6:30 on Wed. at Shawnee Mission Park.

    Would you be up for either of those?

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