When I set out for a 16-mile run on Saturday, I didn’t have many goals for time or pace – just that I was completing the mileage on my training plan. And to enjoy an early-season beautiful, sunny day. Things came together and I ran the route a full minute faster pace than my usual runs. I was in the right mindset – my head was in the right place.
The whole idea is to get an edge. Sometimes it takes just a little extra something to get that edge, but you have to have it.Don Shula
The Running Routine
There are several dirt roads surrounding my house. Not even sure they qualify as gravel. And this time of year, they’re soft from snow and ice melt as the days become longer and the sun rays become more direct.
As a result of having this network, I have several routes to choose from depending on my mileage for the day. Most of the time I can run upwards of 15 miles without any out and backs.
All of my workouts are tracked on Strava, so I have a pretty easy comparison of past runs on the same segments and what my historic paces have been. On these rolling hills of the Palmer Divide, I’m not aiming for fast workouts – the treadmill has been a good place for those.
I do occasionally hit the right notes and click off some faster long runs outside. I’m more concerned about time on my feet and enjoying the journey than qualifying for the Olympic Trials.
Finding That Mindset
Some days I have it. Some days I don’t. It’s finding that consistency that will lead to results.
On this week’s long run, I set out with a playlist of my favorite podcasts and set into the groove, knowing exactly how many miles I needed to cover. 5 miles in, I woke up from my zone and realized I was running.
It’s days like that, when you settle into an easy flow, that you reach that runner’s high. And I try to pay close attention to what my morning (and evening before) looked like that led to that mindset. How can I replicate that and make it happen again?
As I look forward to the next five months of training, I know I’m going to need that mindset for 100 miles. There will be tough weeks, packed with work travel where I struggle to balance. And there will come hot days when I’ll need to fight the heat.
Fatigue will settle in more than once. Every run will not look great. Knowing how to get back to that mindset I had on Saturday morning will prove important.
Know what success looks like and learn how to visualize it.
Yeah, I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s working out.
Sports psychology is the science of success. Studies show that within a group of athletes of equal ability, those who receive mental training outperform those who don’t almost every time. Mental skills, like physical skills, need constant practice. Mind Gym.
This continues a series of posts working my way through Mind Gym by Gary Mack. I read the book and it inspired quite a bit of motivation. I’m sharing a few thoughts as I work through the book once more.
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