So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mind? Matter? Never Mind.

"Mind is everything. Muscle - pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind." - Paavo Nurmi (1897-1973)
So much of distance running - running, for that matter - has to do with the mind. Doesn't matter if the target event is something as brief as a 5,000-meter road race or as long as a marathon. You cannot check your mind at the door.
I've heard lots of friends talk about the stress release running provides; usually in terms of 'I step out the door & go, I don't think about anything...' But how many times do runners ask, 'what should I do?' or 'what pace should I go out in at this upcoming race?' So, you haven't thought about these details?

Even a stretch of workouts where you feel you're not doing well might be a sign of the need to think a little more about the running. A friend of mine wrote in a web log posting about improving swim times...but it makes perfect sense for running, also...something one of his coaches used to say: 'when you are running well maybe you really are not running well.' So, when you start to look at your time for a particular run distance, & compare to when your time was perhaps a few minutes faster months (years?) might be high time to do something a little strange.

Go out & do something that's very simple.
I'm not certain whether the root of a long string of 'oh, gosh, I am really doing lousy at this stuff' has to do with only physical or mental burnout, over-training or over-reaching...most likely it's a combination of most of those factors. When performance that doesn't quite match your expectations for the time of the year/training cycle gets into your head, it's probably a good time to hit the reset button for a time.

This could be something as simple as engaging in another type of exercise, or cross-training for a few weeks until the hunger for that sport returns. A new venue, time of day, change in conditions or modality can switch things up in a positive manner. Perhaps putting the training log & techy-schmecky electronic equipment to the side, doing a few days or weeks of caveman exercise, with little more than a route and a time of day to go by? Even a little bit of - gasp - rest might not hurt in the most extreme cases.
Of course, the aging/slowing processes might be a historical inevitability. Wrapping our minds around the fact we might not be as good now as we were when we were ten years younger; does it matter? Maybe? Perhaps not?

Never mind. Just keep moving forward, one step at a time.

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