Newsletter, November 26 - The Mental Game
I hated my first run. I was in my twenties, slightly overweight, and the holiday season was upon us. A girl I liked had signed up for a Turkey Trot 10K and so did I. I was determined to prove that I, too, was a runner. My brother runs every day to 'live longer'. Running, he says, is by far the most efficient exercise. You can do it anywhere, at any time, and you'll burn 100 calories every ten minutes. You don't need to drive to the gym and schedule around a class - you just go run. So I did.
The first thirty seconds felt exhilarating, I admit. But then I hit a wall. All of a sudden, my body screamed. My lungs hurt, my legs felt wobbly, and my brain started telling me all sorts of very convincing reasons why it was ok to stop: you should ease into this...don't push too hard or you'll get injured...if you hate it you'll never do it again. But, I was afraid to stop because if I did, I might never start again. That became my philosophy on running - whatever it takes, keep going.
I survived that first run (and every one since then). I overcame self-doubt, fatigue, and solid excuses to finish my run. I felt amazing for the rest of the day. But the next day, I dreaded the idea of running again. And therein lies the rub.
To enjoy running, for me, is to enjoy how I feel after I run. It was only after running for weeks that I started to anticipate the post-run joy. I would run earlier and earlier in the day so that I would have less pre-run dread and more post-run joy. Eventually, the pre-run dread turned into something like eagerness to feel post-run joy. Finally, it became excitement to run.
Understanding your own psychology when it comes to exercise is important in planning your fitness strategy. You have to find a way to talk to yourself and compromise with your mind - whether that means rewarding yourself for working out, motivating yourself by committing to a race or a weight goal, or inspiring yourself by running for a cause. One of the best workout planning tips I found is to have a backup plan. If plan A is to run before work every day, know in advance that if that plan fails, plan B is to do a brisk walk at lunch, or to shoot some hoops after work. Life will inevitably interfere and excuses are easy to find - but good planning usually gets you where you need to go.
What tricks do you have to overcome mental fatigue? Hit reply and let us know.
Tune-Up Run: The Krampus Cross Country 5K/10K
Sunday, December 9, 2019 in San Francisco
Whether you're a road or a trail runner (perhaps both?), it's a great idea to get some quality miles on the trails.
There's plenty of science to support the therapeutic benefits of being closer to nature. Trail running can also help improve your biomechanics/form, strengthen your core, and even help you get faster.
If you live in (or near) San Francisco or have been waiting for the perfect excuse to visit, come log a few miles on the beautiful Presidio Trails. All runners get a tech tee, a multi-functional medal, and access to a fun, pre-race brewfest on Friday, 12/7 at A Runner's Mind in San Francisco!
If you have a race on the calendar, a tune-up run is a great way to check your pace.
If not, putting a race on the calendar is one of the best ways to commit to a training plan. Sign up now and start training.
Pro Tip: Make Things Small
There's almost always a point during a challenging run, race, or workout when fatigue starts to set in. Once fatigue starts to set in, a lap around the track seems daunting, a mile feels major, and the finish line seems terribly far away.
If you find yourself in this space, 'make things small'. Don't focus on the mile that's directly in front of you. Focus on the next block or the next stop sign. If you're on the track, don't focus on the entire lap. Focus on the straight segment in front of you, then focus on the curve, then focus on the next straight.
Breaking a challenging, tough workout down into smaller, bite-sized chunks is a great way to deal with the physical and mental fatigue you encounter while running.
Taking a stride feels daunting.
Everything feels laden and heavy.
You're running on fumes.
Fatigue never goes away,
but you can get better at managing it.
Read on for a few tips on managing fatigue.
Workout of the Week: Group Fartlek
What is it? The Group Fartlek is a fun run to do with a group. Everyone runs in a single file line, with the back person sprinting to the front.
How to execute it:
- Find four or five friends and go for a run.
- Get in a single file line. The leader sets the pace.
- The person at the back of the line has to sprint to the front of the line. Then they become the leader until the next person sprints to the front.
Why you should do it? Group runs have a variety of benefits: they improve accountability, provide a sense of community support, and can be more fun. Adding a fartlek component helps improve your pace.
Want to become a fast runner?
Running fast requires a completely
different approach. It requires embracing
fatigue. It requires becoming
comfortable (or at least tolerant)
of fatigue. Running fast hurts.
Accepting this is the first step
in becoming a fast runner.
New in SportMe: Web Sign Up and Import to Calendar
While you will need to download the iOS or Android app to get the full set of SportMe features, you can now create a training plan
and view it from your desktop computer at www.sportme.com.
You can also print you calendar, or import it
directly to you default calendar.
Questions? Feedback? Shoot
us a note at email@example.com
or just reply to this email.