Mental Tug-of-War

“You won’t be able to do it.”

“You were not meant to be fast.”

“You are mediocre.”

“Don’t be ashamed if you cross the finish line past the two-hour mark.”

Richard Sherman is in my head.

So many negative and defeating thoughts  have been racing through my mind the last couple of days over my upcoming half marathon that I have set out to run in under two hours. I’ve been trying really hard to not let said negative thoughts defeat me or affect my training. I’ve searched through my workouts over the last couple of months, looking for reassurance that I’ve come a long way since I started running late August of 2013. Nonetheless, I have to admit I am a woman of very little faith, and even physical proof at times is not enough to convince my mind what my spirit is capable of doing.

After completing the Riverton Half Marathon in Utah  three weeks ago, I felt a boost of confidence crossing the finish line, but that waned pretty quickly. With three and a half weeks remaining, I’ve questioned whether I’ve put in the right training to get me there. Come to think of it, I’ve never felt prepared for any race I’ve ever run. The only way I would probably ever feel like I’ve put enough training is if I were to train like an Olympian; since I am not going to the Olympics any time soon (or ever) I’m not sure there would be a justification for such brutal regimen.

I genuinely do not want for a sub-2 half marathon to define my worth as a person, but I can’t help but want this badly. And as much as I would like to be grateful and content with all the fortunes I have been given (the freedom to believe and worship God without fear or reprisal, my health and the health of my children, a loving husband, a roof over my head, food and water, and so many more commodities I take for granted) the human part in me would be sad to not be able to attain my goal. I try to drown out the mental tug-of-war by visualizing a strong finish in which I’m proud of the fact I gave it my all.

Glory across the Finish Line

Yesterday, I ran 12 miles in honor of the city of Boston after the terrible bombings that occurred during the Boston Marathon a year ago. I may not ever run the Boston Marathon, but I could always run in memory of the Boston Marathon. The twelve-mile run was tough, as I ventured out on a hilly trail. I’m not an adventurous person, so stepping outside of my comfort zone is always a big reward for me. I’m definitely planning on setting foot on that trail again.

 

New Trail = New Adventure

New Trail – New Adventure

Running Selfie

Windy Running Selfie

 

On Monday, I did sprints, and again, I am very proud of the effort I have been putting into them. I’ve never done Sprints as part of my training, and I’ve made sure to incorporate them into my training this time around in order to become a stronger and faster runner. I’ve been doing Sprints regularly for the last eight weeks and even though I dreaded them for the first two weeks, I now look forward to them. There is rush of adrenaline that surges through my body when my muscles shifts from a slow walk to a full sprint. I did a mile warm up and then five 1/2 mile sprints (8.0 on treadmill) with 1/4 mile walks after each sprint. I walked off the treadmill drenched in sweat (which is something I really like because for some strange reason, I’m not someone who perspires heavily during workouts) and feeling so alive.

I’m planning on doing light strength training today and my friend Beth inspired me to see how long I can hold a plank (I was able to hold it for two minutes straight on Sunday night). Therefore, I will also be challenging myself to get a stronger core. And of course, I’m still working on my pull-ups.

Photo bombed by my dog,

Plank Photo-op Take 1 Photo bombed by my dog

 

Plank Photo-op Take 2  Photo bombed by my cat

Plank Photo-op Take 2
Photo bombed by my cat

Plank Photo-op  Take 3

Plank Photo-op
Take 3

Do you go into a race full of confidence about your training, or does your mind play tricks on you? Are Sprints part of your training?

 

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6 thoughts on “Mental Tug-of-War

  1. AHH! Those are my thoughts too! If mind doesn’t play tricks on me before the race, it certainly does during race. Yes sprints are part of my training. Tempo too. I like sprint repeats better than tempo. Love the photo bombs lol! For me, it’s not so much about the results (although a PR is a psychological bonus!), but about enjoying the experience…and training makes the experience more enjoyable. I think it’s only natural to want to be faster & progress…even though it’s only recreational & many of us have full time jobs doing something completely different. Running is very important, but I try not to take it too seriously. If running was my job, I’d be broke! Lol 🙂

    • Thanks for reading and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I love your positive perspective and it’s exactly how I want to feel on race day. I’ve put so much pressure on completing this particular 1/2 marathon in under two hours, that I’m actually finding myself overly anxious. Even though I really want to PR, I also really want to enjoy myself, especially because the race is on Mother’s Day weekend. And yes, both my cat and my dog wanted in on the plank photo-op LOL!

  2. Its natural to have a negative thoughts before a race there are always things you could have done better or done differently.
    Try positive renforcement by reminding yourself of how much stronger, fitter, faster, leaner, thinner etc you are now than in the past. Dwell on the positive aspects of your training like the fact you hav incorporated sprinting which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on your half marathon.
    Remember your best training run when you felt your best and have that thought and image in your mind as you prepare for the race.
    Good luck!

    • Thank you Gareth! Positive reinforcement is undoubtedly the best reinforcement for optimal performance. I can definitely counter all of the negative points with the positive ones you’ve pointed out.

  3. It never fails that I go into a race seriously doubting myself and my abilities. I’ve never gone in feeling like I trained “perfectly” for what I want my goal to be and as soon as my brain starts niggling at me with those self-defeating thoughts, I almost always find myself giving in to the brain. I have no trust in my body, basically!! LOL So boy do I get what you are saying here…

    My biggest goal for this marathon is to feel confident in my ability to do more than my brain thinks it can do…and THAT is what is going to really need to be worked on during training! 🙂

    I have so much faith in you and know that you are going to CRUSH your goals!!! If not on this race day, then soon…You can do it!!

    • Kristen, thank you for believing in me (perhaps even more than I believe in myself) and for been a great source of encouragement. Putting my thoughts down in writing and reading so many positive words is uplifting to the spirit.

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