Mindset For Running
One of the hardest things to do is to let go of what you think is the best thing to do and study the training methods of the world's best and follow suit.
Mileage alone is not the answer.
It doesn't matter what level you are currently at in your running career the sooner you let go of what you cannot control the better you are going to start to run.
What is this mindset for running the best runners have?
It is the freedom of not having to prove anything to anyone but yourself.
Who cares what the guy or gal did in your hometown.
How does that affect your reality?
One the best things we can do as distance runners is to respect other athletes' accomplishments from a distance.
Salivating over what someone who runs faster then you in last weekend's road race is not worth your mental energy.
Flatulent wind blows on us all.
The trick is to find out which way it is coming and take a different route and save yourself the agony of the stench.
The problem is our environment, what we hear, listen to, the voices of expectations others have for us as sportsman and our own expectations cause mental flatulence to reside where it most certainly does not need to be.
No more drama
If you have beaten yourself up in the past for not reaching your goal end it starting today.
There is not a damn thing you can do about a workout or race that you conducted in the past.
Learn from what went wrong but don't let a past failure dictate what your future in this sport is going to be.
Far too many athletes let go of their dreams too early because results didn't come quick enough.
I have seen it far too many times in the past 23 years of competing.
Sharing on social media
Everyone is different but something Lisa Rainsberger (1985 Boston Marathon Champion) and my coach from 2007-2010 told me was
we didn't have social media when I was competing, we did the work. There was no sharing training or calculating every mile run.
One of the quickest ways to spend your precious energy is posting about your upcoming race the day or two before you are about to compete and than to have to ask yourself the question.
What happens if it doesn't go the way I planned
I am not saying it is necessarily a bad thing in sharing that you are going to race with your friends and family because that isn't a bad thing at all.
What is bad is when you get caught up in the expectations of others and than have to start explaining yourself if the race doesn't go up to your standards (or their standards).
Worse yet you throw out a time you think you can run or talk about all the great workouts you have been doing only to bomb in the race.
Save yourself the mental anguish.
Channel that energy you are wasting sharing on social media, hold it back a notch and share afterward when you crush the race!
Have confidence in yourself, share with your family and friends outside of social media and if the performance warrants something you want to share, share after the race, not before.
Saves you all the hassle of having that mental worry on yourself going into a big race.
Your mindset for running should be one of calm and confidence.
Living up to other's expectations of you is not part of that equation.
It took me many years to fully understand and grasp this but at the end of the day, no one really cares about how well you did at a race.
Yes, loved ones care as do your friends but family and friends lives are not being held at the balance based on how fast you run or how much money you may win at a race.
The fact that you are in Europe racing on a world team doesn't help my friend down the street trying to pay his rent or feed his child.
These may be extreme examples pertaining to running but I am just trying to paint a picture that how fast we run doesn't dictate our worth.
The fact that you can run faster than I or I can run faster than you doesn't change my bank account, help me lose weight or have peace of mind.
We have people in this world who want to feel important and act as if by running a fast race or sharing with the world their finish times their bank account will overflow or their self worth will drastically skyrocket.
The truth is no one cares.
Our bank account, self worth is dictated by our choices, the people we associate with and the actions we take or do not take to change our reality.
Your loved ones will care about you regardless what time you run or what place you come in at a race.
Far too many runners get so caught up in trying to impress others based on their race times it takes away from their enjoyment of the activity itself.
If you have to constantly explain yourself after a bad race or even a good race than all it really does is give you something to talk about.
Do share and be happy with good results but let others gloat about your performance if need be.
The Kenyans I have trained with train their rear ends off and regardless how fast they run or poor the perform, they don't gloat about it.
Kenyans mindset for running is, many times, driven by performing at as high of a level as possible to help their families.
Their mental drive doesn't come from telling others how many miles they ran but simply putting their feet to the ground before the sun comes up and doing the work.
They leave the talking up to their feet come race day.
We should all do the same
The honesty truth
I have learned two key things with my own running.
1. If it doesn't help me gain leverage of my time it really isn't that important
2. How can I help someone else get what they want within this sport.
What I am saying is the focus has to be taken off ourselves and put on others.
Wait a minute Nate.
Are you saying I shouldn't spread news of my race results even if I get a PR?
Share with whomever you want to about your running if you so choose.
Be happy about your race but don't be proud.
Pride goeth before a fall.
Never forget Proverbs!
It is not about you
What I am saying is use your expertise and knowledge to help uplift someone else.
Spend the time you may normally would give to explaining away how easy it was for you to hit your intervals or long run splits and take a little more of that time helping someone else.
As of I have stated in past posts, my workouts and how many miles I ran last week doesn't change your reality.
The number of miles I ran and my personal best for the half-marathon or marathon distance doesn't help you gain health or financial independence.
We live in a ‘me' culture where everyone is out to get what they want.
It takes skill and a bit of experience to slow down from talking about ourselves and listening to the wants, desires and needs of others in this sport.
To gain back that desire, that mindset for running that got you inspired for this sport in the first place you have to find a passion for what you are doing.
Is it going to motivate you for the next week, month, year, decade?
What is your overall goal in the sport?
The power in helping another
How can you help a relative, close friend or complete stranger lose weight, run faster or obtain a goal outside of running?
How many people do you know of that are living in poverty?
Have you sought out what the 1% know, could you learn that skill to help them overcome that burden?
Take the focus off your mile splits, explanations of every workout you did this week and find ways to keep yourself motivated.
Help someone else get what they want.
I have found that there is greater satisfaction in helping someone else in this sport or in life than gloating about ourselves or our workouts.
What I see is a lot of top athletes talking about themselves and their performances and VIP treatment and not enough talk about the countless others out training working full-time jobs, juggling family responsibilities and tasks.
Training full time and working and training full time
I have friends in the sport who train full-time, no other concerns.
It doesn't impress me reading about them doing 8x1mile on the track at 4.25-30 per rep.
Anyone with enough mental and physical fortitude can put up workouts like that.
They may all arrive at that type of fitness at various lengths of time in their train up or never get there regardless if they have the opportunity to train full-time or not.
Anyone who has no other concerns but to train hard can run much more efficient, get far more rest and recovery then someone working a full-time job.
What does impress me is reading about friends who are woking full-time jobs running 50.01 for 10-miles and 2.18.00 for the marathon qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials at age 35, working 40+ hours a week at a job they have to report to.
It is one thing to get up at whatever time you want, head to the track to do a workout, than had back home to nap for a few hours and than get back up for an easy evening run.
No other cares in the world.
Your only job is to run.
Trust me, I know how this feels as I had that opportunity for 10 months while assigned with the Army World Class Athlete Program to do just that.
I also know when I was training full-time I didn't accomplish my goal of a sub 2.22.00 marathon.
I earned it afterward when I had to start working full-time again after failing to earn the 2008 USA Olympic Trials “B” standard (which was 2.22.00 or better).
The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
The spartan lifestyle brings results
The spartan lifestyle of your commitment and time management is where the mindset for running well lives.
You'll find out, if you haven't already, that your best performances sometimes come when your back is up against the wall and you have no other choice but to accept nothing but the best out of yourself.
The greatest successes stem from failure and yet failure is never glorified.
You'll see players and other athletes crying on the field of battle if they lost as if they lost a loved one.
I am not saying it feels good to miss a goal.
It doesn't but we also have to keep in mind the things that really matter in life.
Do you have someone in your life that cares about you regardless if you run fast or slow, are poor or rich, educated or not educated?
Are you healthy?
Are you hungry?
Do you have food to eat?
Shelter for you and your family?
Are you able to see and hear?
Do you have the luxury of feeling safe where you live?
Can you walk out the door and not feel like an insurgent is going to heave a missile on your living quarters (I have felt that concern before)?
If your answer to any of these questions is a positive one then missing a goal temporarily should be overcome quickly.
The key is to not be emotionally attached to the result for too long.
Hope this helps, in some way, in helping you get back that mindset for running that you may have lost or help you gain traction on where you currently stand with it.
Rome wasn't built overnight.
The hungry and determined thrive.
We have one life.
Use the time and seek out all the knowledge you can to gain control of it because at the end of the day there isn't anything more precious in life, outside of our family and health, than our time.