Gooood morning! We’re officially half-way through the week!:-)
Last night I was exhausted and crashed pretty hard – I even fell asleep on the bus ride home! (and managed to not sleep on the shoulder of the person next to me – that is skill my friends.)
My big cooking plans will have to wait until tomorrow evening- Boyfriend had a late basketball game so rather than whip up a long-winded meal to eat at 10pm, I was lounging on the couch and catching up on TV (Friends re-runs and the GIants game of course) while he was at his game.
After my sub-par mental workout yesterday, I got to thinking (does that phrase not remind you of Carrie Bradshaw every time you hear, say or type it?) about mental vs physical toughness and how much both matter in each and every workout we do.
As soon as we start to get tired, or feel uncomfortable (big difference between feeling pain and feeling uncomfortable – listen to your body!) it’s so easy to just decide you’ve had enough, or lessen your intensity, or just stop altogether. I’m guilty of it. I usually justify it with “Well at least I did something.”
But we’re capable of so much more than that.
For me personally, I know I’m in shape physically to complete the workouts I set out to do and more often than not, it’s getting myself into the right mental shape to push myself through the uncomfortable or the “I’m tired, I should slow down so it’s more comfortable” stages that’s the really difficult part.
Those stages usually hit me right before that lovely “I can do anything” runner’s high (around 2-3 miles in) and again right before I’ve reached my distance goal (when you’re so close you can taste how good it’s going to feel to finish regardless of how far you’ve planned to run!)
How I combat the mental fatigue?
- Lots of internal monologue – “You can DO this, and you KNOW you can” (because quite frankly, you can.)
- Run to the next block (or tree, stop-sign, etc) then re-evaluate. If you can’t go another step, stop. (when have you ever stopped when you start setting small goals for yourself? If you have, you probably needed to.)
- When I’m on a treadmill, or using my Nike+ GPS when running outside and feeling mentally strained, I run “mini races”. Each tenth of a mile is a mini race. If I have 1 more mile to go, I have 10 mini-races to complete and that makes it seem much more manageable
- Likewise when running long distances in a half-marathon, I break it down into three 4-mile races. At the 4, 8, and 12 mile mark I congratulate myself for finishing a mini-race and count-down how many more to go. Having 1.1 miles to go after completing my mini-races suddenly doesn’t seem so daunting.
My lovely friend Caroline (the amazing spin instructor that I rave about on a weekly basis, and also a Personal Trainer and all-around fitness instructor – SF-ers if you work out at any of the clubs she teaches at, check out her classes (on her website… you won’t be disappointed) offers some seriously motivating advice when the going gets (mentally!) tough:
When you can’t think anything positive say this mantra over and over till all the negative thoughts stop: “I am so proud of myself right now”. It WORKS! Focusing on doing SOMETHING positive for yourself and being grateful for your ability to do it in the first place shifts the negative mindset to a positive one.
And remember… you gotta have bad training days to REALLY appreciate the GOOD ones!
How do you get through those mentally tough workouts?