Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Running is 90% Mental...the other half is physical"

I hope Yogi Berra doesn't mind if I take a bit of liberty with his quote about Baseball. The more I run, the more I realize just how much it is a mental game.

No no, not in the way that you may be thinking. I'm not being one of those arrogant guys who say "if you just tell yourself you can do it, then you can do it." I'm saying that despite all your best efforts at training, and how great your legs may feel, or how many times you've done the distance...there is ALWAYS...ALWAYS that voice inside you that says..

"Why don't you just quit."

When you really boil it down, that is truly the essence of distance running. The mental wrestling match that takes place that takes place when you are running on a 20 degree day and want to stop at mile one. Perhaps its the still small voice in your head that keeps repeating itself at mile 5 because you've never been over five miles before. For you marathoners, maybe its mile 20 when you hit the wall.

It doesn't matter when it happens, or your skill or distance level, you will only ever be as good as you can win the wrestling match with that voice. Today he spoke to me a lot. Mile get the idea. Honestly he wouldn't shut up until around Mile 16. That was the point that one or more of the following 3 things happened.

1) We got off that boring Swamp Rabbit Trail and my mind woke up.
2) The GU Espresso Love Caffeine kicked in
3) I could smell the finish (only 16-18 minutes remain Coffee)

In any case, my legs rebounded with energy I missed for miles and I was able to hit paces I had not in several miles, even with tired legs. Why? I had won the battle with that voice. My legs weren't tired, my mind was tired. I won today's battle with the voice, but I know he'll be back. Probably first thing Monday morning.

You can win it too. Prepare yourself to meet him, have plenty to say back, and most importantly don't give up. He'll eventually leave you alone...well at least for a few miles. Now go kick his butt.

Quick important sidebar...if the voice says anything about having to're not going to win that one. Find a restroom...quick. Trust me on this.


David H. said...

Great post. The mental games never go away unfortunately, but the ways to fight back are also just as endless.

Stacey said...

You just had to end it that way, didn't you?! Incredible post though, so very true. These little challenges are what make runners amazing at the rest of life as well :-)

Randy said...

Stacey...we runners are a transparent lot..haha. Hope the mountain stairs don't kill you.

Tiana said...

I couldn't agree more. I have gone to races trained and prepared to the T and have died because mentally I wasn't there. On the flip side, I ran a great 1/2 with little training because mentally I was convinced I could (we won't talk about how I felt AFTER, but I did finish :)). Good post!

Isaac and Grace said...

Hola from New Mexico! I just finished reading all of your entries on your blog. Discovered your blog from a list of top 100 blogs I found online. I've got to say I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts. I feel like you understand us, the little people, who have just started running. Anyway, nice job on the blog. I look forward to more posts.

Randy said...

Isaac and Grace, what a thoughtful and kind response. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my rantings. My goal here is to inspire and motivate...and maybe share a laugh along the way. Keep up the running, I hope to hear more about your journey!