Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles in the body.
Right now I'm 0 for 3 and I've let it eat up my mental game.
Back in April there was a 5k DNF due to some knee issues, then there was the day of my goal half where temps were way too sizzly for my liking that made my goal race pace nearly impossible to execute, and then there is last weekends 10 miler where I mentally checked out for the day after hitting a bit of unexpected wind on the course. Combine these races with the 4 weeks that I battled an uncooperative left knee and my mind is way off of where it was back in March.
Hitting unexpected road blocks is what really separates the men from the boys in racing. Every race we all toe the line where our attitude and mindset has a 100% impact on the outcome for the day. More then likely if you head to a race feeling questionable and doubtful that you are going to achieve your goal, you will probably do just that. I think it's safe to say that all runners deal with the "am I good enough" mind game from time to time, but how do we get over that hump? How do you take that less then exceptional performance and turn it into fuel for the next race?
Stepping up my mental game is where it's at right now. All the physical work is done where I am no different then any competitor that is going to toe the line next Saturday. This race will be 100% mental, and this is how I'm going to get myself there:
spend some time in prayerPrayer isn't for everyone, but it helps me. Knowing that there will always be a greater purpose then tangible objects and worldly possessions keeps me going. Being thankful for what I have achieved in my life and the blessings that surround me everyday can be often overlooked where entitlement creeps in during times of doubt and trial. While I may not declare to my LORD everyday that I am thankful for a healthy body that is able to move in unthinkable ways, I am eternally grateful for this gift.
readBe silent, be still and let the imagination run wild a bit. A smidgen of new found intellectualism will never hurt.
detach from technology and live lifeMaking new memories always helps weed out the sticky moments in life for me. Backing away from the garmin to cut loose leaving opportunity for some unexpected adventure is what keeps my heart pure and unchained.
let the past go and move forwardIt's challenging to look at a situation that didn't pan out as expected and find value in shortcomings. But you can't change the past, you can only move forward. Letting a race hold you back from future greatness is really silly. Clock time is just a number and there will always be another chance to get after a goal. If every goal and quest that our hearts set out to conquer were unpretentiously achievable, life would be dull and predictable. Sometimes life just has to smack you in the face knocking you on your @$$ to realize whats in front of you.
|let it go, let it go, let it go|
acknowledge the fear and vulnerabilityOnly that which scares you will ever make you stronger, and learning how to race like a front pack runner scares the pants off of me. It makes me feel out of my element, exposed, and draws more attention to me then I'd like. Staying in the zone of safety and comfort is always going to be easier where quick splits and PR's will be a rare occurrence. There will always be that little voice inside that says "hey that is one crazy idea...are you sure about that?" when tackling the unknown, but instead of letting it overtake and own my soul I need to acknowledge it and then lay it to rest. Time to embrace the pain like this crazy speedy gal knowing that things in life will never come on my timing.
look back and reflectProgress...just because you can't hold it in your hands and you can't always see it doesn't mean it's not there. Sometimes you have to thumb back through training logs, blog posts, old medals and race bibs to figure out that you have indeed gotten one step closer to your dreams.
|Some good moments and some not so good over the years|
5 years ago when I ran my first SF10 miler on a bum knee post Boston Marathon catastrophe of 2008, I finished in 1:18. That is a 12 minute improvement in 5 years.
yea, that's progress even if at first thought the 2012 SF10 felt like a bust.
With training you really have got to take a leap of faith and trust all the work that you've put in. The moment you begin to question whether it was too little or too much will be the exact moment you let that little itty-bitty piece of self-derailment being to seem real. There is never a guarantee that a PR will be anxiously awaiting your arrival at the finish line, but if you don't believe that it's possible who will?
put on the big girl pantsNothing of value in life will ever come easy, so it's time to woman up and tell those voices of self doubt that they don't belong inside my head. I'm a competitor and I can do this.
Every time you get up and get back in the race, one more small piece of you starts to fall into place.