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1) Did you race this weekend?
2) How did you stay mentally tough in your last race or workout?
3) The last time you weren’t so mentally tough, why, and what are you going to do to be tougher next time?
Chasing endorphins is far more fun than wishing I had more fat for my boobs.
1) What’s one of the funnier Pinterest/Insta fitspo’s you’ve seen?
2) What’s one of the better, really motivating ones you’ve seen?
3) What did you do today that could be pinned and used as inspiration for others?
1) Give one adjective of how you felt before your last workout.
2) Give one adjective on how you felt after that same workout.
3) What is one of the last things you do or say to yourself before a hard workout or race?
I’ve run in some pretty crappy conditions, but today marked a first for this runnerchick. I literally had to run/swim, like stop the watch and doggie paddle kinda stuff! California goes from the golden winter to flash-flooding my bike trail today…it was craaaazy!
Actually the episode was actually quite comical. I almost tripped and went full-submersion style. [side-note: I have a phobia of leeches, visions of them stuck to my legs and torso riddled my mind the whole run] So a toast to you, Winter, you pulled a fast one on me today. You done good, but I still won out. I’m pretty sure that was hail there between those bullet rain-drops and I came out looking like a wet, sewer rat but I got that run done.
And hey, I’d still take a bucket of rain over some of those well-below zero temperature readings from other states. You runners over there, good gracious, seeing icicles in your beards, eyelashes, and hair!! But I did have to make a cartoon for my run today because, quite honestly, I’m not doing one BIT of over-exaggeration for comedic effect.
Sometimes reality, in it’s own sickly sense, is way more hilarious.
Go on, run on…run/swim on??
——— HUGE NEWS!! If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the Spoiler Alert! My latest running shirt design has dropped! The Peacock Runner…check out my Mommy-O model, the first runnerchick to don this one.
Full details on this one to come and it will be available to buy at my store soon…but my excitement bubbled over and I had to give you the sneak peek.
1) What’s the deepest water you’ve had to cut through during a run?
Today was well above my waist.
2) Worst conditions you’ve ever run in?
3) Are you pretty good at keeping a secret if you’re excited?
———– BIG NEWS is coming tomorrow!! You excited, yet? You should be. In fact be CrAzY excited! It has to do with THIS!!
I HATE to have to do this but I need to add another disclaimer. I’ve gotten lots of questions from people asking to save or download my artwork and cartoons. I ask that you PLEASE do not, I sell prints of all my artwork. Art and writing is how I put food on my table. Be kind, respect the amount of time, creativity, and work that goes into the work that I share with you. Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org to order a print or purchase rights to download and share. Thank you.
1) What’s some exciting news you have to share?
2) What are you looking forward to this weekend?
So one very hot singer has crooned, “Speed kills…” Well any runner can tell you that one! It’s a little two-fold though, speed kills your opponent and if you consider the lactic acid factor it probably feels like you’re killing yourself too! Remember THIS cartoon??
It’s true, us distance runners, of the slow-twitch muscle fiber realm would most likely opt for a 10 mile tempo than sets of 800′s or 200′s. Distance logic right there.
The thing is though, while you can’t inject your distance running legs with fast-twitch muscle fibers you CAN hone the ones you’ve got and it’s quite remarkable how malleable that muscle make-up can be with proper training. But here’s the thing, for long distance runners, GETTING FASTER takes both a physical and mental component.
I’ve written a few articles on the specific physical training tips to run faster. Distance runners SHOULD embrace those horrid 200 repeats, choke down those shorter intervals because speed translates up. You need to reverse ‘common’ distance logic and build from the bottom (aka shorter distances) up.
The faster you can sprint, the faster you can comfortably hold a ‘slower’ pace and longer. That reads as faster 5k’s, 10k’s, and marathons.
Do those shorter intervals, add some hill sprints, anything that involves explosive power. That’s the muscle-building and training factor.
Here’s the thing, if you’re like me you HATE that short running stuff because you ‘feel’ like you suck at it. You feel out of your element and get stressed more for the short stuff because it feels awkward, doesn’t come naturally, and thus gets a little frustrating.
ALL those thoughts create is PHYSICALLY impossible to run your best sprints. Crazy how the MIND can once again stop you from being the best runner you can be. The thoughts of feeling ‘out of your element’ create a foundation for stress and rather than running RELAXED as you should, you’re running tense. Ironically the more you ‘try’ to run faster, the slower you’ll be. True fact.
Learning and reminding yourself to run relaxed is an ongoing process. Here are some mental thoughts that can help you stay relaxed and allow your body to run faster:
* Arms: Laws of running physics (?? lol) hold that your legs can only move as fast as your arms. I like this because rather than think about your legs (let’s be honest they’re hurting like mad, let’s NOT think about them at all to block out that pain!) I think of moving my arms front-to-back as quickly as possible. The legs will follow.
* Eff It: This is the mentality I’ve adopted during short intervals, but let me explain. I KNOW ‘trying’ to run faster will shoot me in the foot, so I force my type-A brain to do the opposite. I remind myself, “Don’t worry about the times, I know speed isn’t my strong point, but it will only improve if I work on it. So eff it, relax, you can’t FORCE anything so just roll with it.” Basically you have to embrace the ‘awkward feeling’, loosen up, and just ‘have fun’ with it. Also, stop telling yourself that you suck at the shorter intervals!
* Effort: Tying to my tip above, ultimately running and training comes back to perceived effort. The watch and numbers only tell part of the story, so another thing I tell myself is, “Just run hard.” Run faster and even if you don’t look at your watch (this can help runners if they have built themselves a little speed phobia) if you’re running HARDER and FASTER you’ll get the rewards.
Bottom line here: even distance runners NEED speedwork if they want to run their longer races faster. Embrace the nasty shorter intervals, adopt the ‘eff it attitude’ and stop FORCING it. Relax the heck up and in true ironic distance logic you’ll run faster when you’re ‘trying’ less.
1) Speedwork, love it or hate it?
2) When is the last time you did speedwork?
3) What’s something you tell yourself to make sure you’re running relaxed?
1) The last time you were injured, what was a ‘casualty’ of war?
I may or may not have bitten a few heads off.
2) If you’re injured right now, you’re allowed one vent sentence. Then follow it up with a positive affirmation that will get you through your injury.
3) For all you NOT injured, write a sentence on how you’re GRATEFUL for your ability to run and remind yourself never to take that for granted.
Runners can never, ever fear ‘failure’. In fact, failures are NOT a bad thing. To fail means that you set a high enough goal. You stepped outside your comfort zone, you DREAMED you could achieve something great.
Failures are often the most powerful learning tools. Bad race, horrendous workout…you have to not only experience them you have to FORCE yourself to get through them. Soak up the experience, actually feel how much that suckiness that was.
Take those sucky feelings and channel them into:
Confidence, you say? Yes, confidence.
A runner who pushes through when things really suck should be brimming with confidence. It’s way too easy to run an amazing workout when your legs feel like gold. To have a phenomenal race when it happens to be one of those ‘magic days’. Magic days are the exception, legs that feel like they’re running on clouds are the rarity.
To grit out a workout and keep your mind IN THE RACE when things are tough, that is mental toughness. The same goes for obstacles and challenges you didn’t expect, sudden curve balls that really test you. Get through them, keep moving forward. Those experiences, those trials, the hard times, even when you put in your best effort and the clock is brutally honest…THOSE are necessary to build a strong runner.
You survive knowing you still put in your best and never mentally gave up when things get tough, and that should give you the most confidence in the world. Those should make you think, “Look, I got through it and stayed tough when I felt like crap. Just imagine how well I’m going to run when my body and my legs feel GREAT.”
Redefine failure in your mind. After a bad workout or race, yes, you are allowed to be miffed, to be peeved. But channel all of that into a productive mindset. Rather than think as a defeatist, use the burning embers of anger as fuel for motivation and determination. Then look for any lessons you can learn from the race. (Did you go out too fast…again?? Wise up! haha)
Then COME BACK. The only time a failure SHOULD make you embarassed is if it’s the end of your road. You give up and stop your story right there.
I want you to now share with me YOUR epic fails turned epic wins. Share your stories about an obstacle you faced, overcame, and came out a stronger runner and person because of it. Tell me also about your epic fail of a race, and either tell me how you came back later to make it a ‘redemption race’ epic win…OR…if you just had this epic fail tell me how you’re going to use that in a way to reach an epic win.
You can blog about, post a picture, make some artage (you know how much I’d really love that!) and then tweet me @caitlinchock with the hashtag #epicfailWIN and a link to your epic fail win moment/story/picture/etc.
So, Runner Friends, embrace your failures because they make you stronger.
1) You know what to do, get to gather your epic fail win moment…I can’t wait to hear all about them! #epicfailWIN
That long run brought to you by dreams of PaNcAkeS!!! Or insert your favorite post-run food there. Actually, you can swap out the long run for a race. Scratch that you can preeeetty much just swap that out for any run. Any distance…any food. #runners #workforit #reward #bait ??
While us runners certainly can eat more than a football team, amongst those pancakes, Pop-Tarts, burgers, fries, milk shakes, etc…we DO know that in order to run our best we need to fuel our best.
The beautiful thing though, is that eating to PERFORM doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat your apples too. It’s all about balance. There are some KEY elements that all runners in training should be mindful of:
getting enough and timing that intake * 30 Minute Recovery: eating protein and carbs within 30 minutes of finishing a run * Healthy Picks: insert your fruits, veggies, whole grains, quality carbs here * Vitamins and other nutrients: IRON is sooo important for runners and ensuring they get enough! * Hydration: it’s crucial runners ensure they drink enough fluids and more than just water, replacing those electrolytes too
But it’s ALL about balance, and even professional distance runners are allowed their cookies and burgers too. Hey, when you’re burning all dem calories you earn those treats!
1) What’s your ‘drool dream’ food while running?
2) How do you keep track of your protein intake and ensuring you get enough?
3) How do you track your fruits and veggies and make sure you’re getting enough?
Whether single or alone, you can always find love.
Okay, Happy Valentine’s Day…whether you find this a jank holiday or not probably has more to do with your relationship status than anything else. But we can all agree that the love between a runner and their legs is something sacred. To be cherished and adored, to be respected and never taken for granted.
Be you loving your legs in pairs or rocking solo, grab a chocolate heart and bite it’s flipping head off…you ran, you deserve it!!
[Hearts may not have a head, but you get the picture.]
1) Finish this sentence: I love my legs and today I will show them that love by…
Forcing them to run. They know they like it…bwahahaha.
2) How are you treating your legs right so they rebuild and repair?
3) Favorite chocolate treat?
Any and all. S’mores Pop-Tarts are always a choice I fully endorse!
When my legs are REALLY tired they can only manage thinking of my run in 1/4 mile increments. So I play this game in my head where I count to 4. One…two…three…four. Yay, we’re done!! Well, no, the cycle just starts again.
Don’t bag on the formula, it works; yesterday’s 9-miler was brought to you by the ‘count to four’ method. Oh us silly runners and our mind games.
You want another peek into my crazy? Well the the little game gets better because I don’t look at my Garmin during my easy runs. I’ve told you guys, easy runs should be EASY…and not to get sucked into getting overly competitive on our easy days, or mad at yourself if the times are slow. I’m not quite brave enough to go fully naked (aka watchless) so my compromise is I let the Garmin beep my miles but I don’t look at the splits.
So then I make this whole 1/4 thing into an even MORE fun guessing game. I picture myself on a track and then think, “Hmmm, I definitely think it’s been a lap. One. Now we’re getting close to two laps I bet. Two…etc.” So I try to predict the 4th beep and see how close I can get.
Yes, this whole, entire game is purely a distraction. It’s crazy, mostly senseless…but aren’t all of us runners just that??
Please clear the track, we’ve got some runners coming through, and they’re taking care of business!!
Running is not a sport for the excuse-makers of the world. It takes lots of motivation and dedication to improve, but the glorious thing about that is the power to get better is RIGHT there, in your hands (eeerr…feet?), and within your control.
In a sport where work ethic is more important than your height, shoe size, or inborn talent, the mentally tough, refuse-to-give up runners are the ones who come out on top. And after all, it’s watching those kind of runners overcome obstacles and odds that in turn inspires US to follow our own goals. Dream bigger than our running shoes and put in the work.
*Cue the African Safari Music* “It’s the circle of runner-life.” *Bamboo lifts your racing shoes to the heavens above.*
Running is also a state of mind. It’s mental. I’ve had people call me a jogger, and I joke about being heinously offended. Then I’ve had people be offended that I’m offended about the j-word. Like I’m a runner ‘snob’ or sometimes people feel judged saying, “I’m not a runner, I’m not fast enough to be a runner.”
In both of those instances, my reply is the same:
* The difference between a runner and a jogger ISN’T pace, mileage, or numbers related.
* Earning ‘runner’ status is in the mind, the spirit, the dedication.
You’re a runner if you LOVE it.
You’re a jogger if you feel ‘forced into it’, like it’s a chore, or you’re only doing this to lose weight.
Runners are self-motivated and if anything have to have someone else beat/talk ‘sense’ into us at times, to hold us back, learn the times when not to run.
Joggers aren’t all that worried about skipping days. They celebrate any ‘excuse’ not to go jogging.
So you see, me NOT wanting to be called a jogger isn’t being a snob. It’s just that I know I’m a runner in spirit. And others, regardless of their pace or point in their running life journey thing, shouldn’t force the jogging title on themselves.
As a runner, you’re a runner. You know it. You can’t lose your running license during injuries or setbacks.
You’re only NOT a runner the day you decide to stop. Until then, keep on running, My Friends!
1) What is one of your criterium for being a runner?
2) Do you get offended being called a jogger?
3) Do you care either which way at all? hehe.
More Morning Running Inspiration
Get some race tips HERE
1) What’s got you motivated and inspired this morning?
2) What were your weekend running plans? Racers?
3) What’s your favorite running shirt this moment?
I’m excited to share my first RUNNING book: “Effective Mental Strategy: Race better by out-thinking your brain”!!
Running hard hurts. In order to race and train your best you need to block out that pain and stay in an effective mindset.
This ebook will teach you strategies to refute those pain messages from your brain and refute that voice telling you to “Stop!” and “Slow down!” Also included are insights from professional distance runners sharing the tips THEY USE to stay mentally tough during workouts and races. These rocking runners, Sarah Brown, Sara Hall, and Jason Hartmann, your brain would go dizzy counting up all their accolades: World Championship Teams, Pan Am Gold, Marathon Titles, you name it!
I’ve chosen to use my cartoons as teaching tools to make the reading fun and engaging. I mean humor DOES make everything better and, after all, while training and racing does require an amount of seriousness, running IS fun. And running personal records are even MORE fun!
This ‘instructional comic book’ is written BY a runner; because who better to poke fun at our crazy quirks and thoughts than a runner herself?!!
BUY this awesome ebook in PDF form here! — $9.99
Sneak peek of what’s inside!
This running ebook will also be offered in a Kindle edition at the Amazon store shortly too!
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Racing is a fierce sport. Take no prisoners. Competition.
Pain. fighting. lactic acid. MENTAL TOUGHNESS
Running is a test. Against yourself. Your competitors are there to PUSH you to your best. Competition is a gift. THEY will elevate you, take you places you didn’t think you could go. PUSH you past pain thresholds your mind told you you’d never go.
Racing is fierce. It’s better than a blood sport, it’s a game of wills. You are the pawn, the King, the Queen, and dictator. You control what the body puts out. Be fierce. Be strong.
Be a competitor.
You amped yet? Good luck to anyone and everyone racing this weekend…track season is always so freaking exciting!
NEVER fear your competition…they are there to help you. Read more…
Race day tips HERE
A little dark or serious today? More posts on MOTIVATION and CARTOONS
1) Finish these sentences: Race day is…
2) When I think of my competition, I…
3) I am in control of my race, I know I’ve put my best out there by…
Many a time has a runner been told they’re ‘too obsessed’ with this running thing. I admit runners may be a wee bit on the crazy side, and obsessed isn’t such a bad term. [Better to be obsessed with running than meth...right?] But the reality is, rather than waste our breathe even trying to explain it to these people, who clearly will never ‘get it’…our precious O2 is much better spent oxygenating those hard-working running mitochondria.
1) Do you try to explain it to people who question why you run, or how you are so motivated?
2) Best funny quip you’ve given to a person who says with scorn that you’re ‘too into’ running or fitness?
3) What’s inspiring YOU this morning?
The moments leading up to a race are this crazy mix of emotions: excitement, anticipation, terror??, chomping at the bit eagerness, hope, motivation, forced relaxation (attempted??)…flip, you name it! Poised at the starting line, every runner can relate to the feeling that they just may burst if that freaking starter doesn’t fire the gun! CRACK!!
Adrenaline, cortisone, hormones flooding the body. This is the internal environment of your body before the start of a race. This is stress on the body. I read an interesting article in Fast Company, it’s actually a business piece and questioning if the brain can actually be addicted to stress.
This is your face yelling at the starter to just, “FIRE THE GUN!!”
After-all, stress puts the body into that fight or flight mode. I think everyone can relate to the rush you feel when you’ve waited until the LAST second to hit a deadline…some people are even convinced that their best stuff comes under that gun of procrastination. But stress is physical, the brain releases certain chemicals, the nervous system operates differently.
The same happens with runners. Many of those same chemicals are coursing through your veins leading up to races, and even workouts. We know those feelings, we know that buzz, and heck, I’ll totally agree that feeling is addictive. Why do you think us runners keep signing up for races, go out to nail that next workout, we love the rush that comes with it. Mostly the rush that comes AFTER…but the whole experience in itself is darn-right thrillingly addictive.
The problem though, is putting your body through that entire hormone/chemical crazed onslaught is wearing. Your body would literally explode (well, probably not literally actually) if it was in that heightened state forever. And the body DOES start to deteriorate if you put and keep it in that state for too long.
Add some hormones to those bones and we’ve got it.
This is where runners get into trouble when they let their nerves get the better of them and they (literally) explode in races and workouts. Bwahahaha…when I say explode here, I’m actually meaning implode. They Bomb.
You have to keep all that nervous energy in check. As an athlete you need to, to a degree, control the release of all that adrenaline, cortisone, and all the other crazy hormones. Overriding that body’s natural instinct of fighting or flighting mode is difficult, and takes work. Naturally some athletes are just BETTER at mentally managing that, they’re the gamers. The trickier thing is, as with natural talents, describing HOW they do it isn’t something they can really put into words. They just DO it.
Though controlling your race and workout day nerves is still a skill that is totally possible. And just like mental toughness, it’s a skill that every runner continually hones and learning to get better at is a process. You find tricks that work, not everything works for everyone…and it’s like trial and error. This is where you take any and all bad races/workouts and use them to your benefit. Did I learn something that didn’t work here? Did I learn, then, what I’m going to try next time to make things work? Looking for key lessons from bad workouts includes both physical and mental things.
A bit of a personal thing here, I’ve always loved racing. That feeling is fan-freaking-tastic, and (this never happens, brace yourself, I never blatantly give myself a compliment. Ever. I’m working on that, but I’m petrified people will think I’m bragging! So I want to preface this with I’m not bragging, but this is something I’m kinda proud of.) when I was racing I was able to manage and handle that race day nervous energy well and perform better than my workouts suggested. So I’ll kinda share what I think helped me….I always remembered this:
Interestingly the calm slips away the moment the gun in fired. I think THAT, the wanting to just get into the calm zone, at least for me, was most of the reasons my skin would crawl, itch, buzz, wanting…craving the gun to just go off. Let’s just start doing this thing!!
Anticipation is always the worst feeling. In a roller coaster, it’s the anticipating the drop that sucks, the oddly freaky sensation of your stomach lifting, that’s the fun part. Just like running where we battle the love-hate relationship with the pain of racing, it’s a love-hate thing with that stomach dropping feeling. I think a big part of the nervous anticipation is that we KNOW there is a tug-of-war about to ensue…and we (hope we are!) want to be TOUGH enough when the true test comes. We know we’ve been tough before and loved/embraced that sensation…so we need to remind ourselves we will be just as mentally tough again and come through with sailing colors. Knowing that the crack of the gun will unleash the inner gamer in us all, is reassuring.
It’s the anticipating, wait for the gamer to come out, that makes us want to grab the starter pistol and fire it ourselves! With the CRACK come the relief…the release. The moment that happens, our bodies know what to do. What, as runners, we’ve conditioned them to do. With the crack of the gun we FINALLY, liberatingly are free of thinking.
1) Stress…love it, hate it, think you can be addicted to it?
2) Do you think runners are ‘addicted’ to the feeling of racing and workouts?
3) Do you think my little anticipation theory is anywhere close to something that resonates with you?