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Sorry, Ariel, nothing quite compares to running.
Nope, nothing like the special kind of endorphins only running can supply!! Motivation lulls happen to the best of us so in those times, take these thoughts as reason to put those two legs of your to work think of this:
1) I ALWAYS feel better when I’m done.
2) Is the runner guilt of skipping my run worth it?
3) I’ve got goals I’m working towards…consistency is the ‘secret’ to getting better and faster!
4) I’m lucky I’m not injured and ABLE to run!! Don’t take your running for granted.
5) If I start, I can dream about the cake and chocolate chip pancakes I’ll come back to.
Now, if you’re injured and need some motivation to plug away at your rehab and cross-training:
* I WILL heal. And when I do I won’t take my running for granted. I’m going to do the work now so my transition back to running will that much better!
Unless you are stuck with fins, My Friends, take advantage of those runner legs!
1) What is something you tell yourself to give you a kick of motivation when you need it?
2) What is your go-to cross-training when you cant run?
3) Do you like to swim?
Nope, hate the water. If I’m injured and in the pool it’s like the double-dipping of p*ssed-off runner ‘tude.
Today’s run started out like crap. You know the feeling, your legs are wobbling around herky-jerky style and in your mind you feel like a fish out of water. You think, “Good gracious, it’s like these things have never run a step in their lives before!”
Oh the ‘beautiful’ first mile of the not-as-young-as-they-used-to-be runner. It’s almost like you can hear the creaks and pops while the body is cracking off the rust, akin to the running Tin Man.
But you warm us runners up and thanks to the TRUE beauty of muscle memory the fish fins transform back into your actual running legs. Then though, there are just those days. The legs warm up but they still feel like a load of junk, much heavier than they ought to feel.
It happens, all part of the game, and on days like that you just put in the effort. Remember that ‘meh’ runs happen to even the best runners in the world, then look forward to the next run.
HERE is where things get interesting and we can pull a little actual science into this running businesses. Because there ARE ways to turn a heinously ‘meh’, craptastic run around…now not always, yes, craptastic runs will always exist, but if that first mile is particularly heinous don’t lose all hope yet!
Super Science Stuff…but not in sciencey lingo
* Two Energy Systems:
Distance runners work primarily off of their endurance, cardiovascular system, for the majority of their miles. Easy runs, warming up, cooling-down, even longer distance intervals and races. You get the gist, we’re not out there putting in 100 meter repeats and taxing that anaerobic system.
* Gear Shift:
Sometimes us distance runners get ‘stuck’ in a certain pace; get conditioned to that ‘easy’ run pace too much and you can wind up in a rut. When this happens that ‘easy’ pace doesn’t feel as ‘easy’ as it should. Now it sounds counterintuitive but to bust OUT of that rut, sometimes all you need to do is toss in a change of pace.
* Bust the Funk:
If you’re thinking, “Running easy feels hard, no way in heck running faster is even possible at this point!”…bear with me. Toss in some strides, a few relaxed surges, then settle back into your easy pace. The gear-shift will have tapped into that other energy system for a bit and two things will happen:
1) The shift caused your muscles to work in a different way, giving a little ‘break’ to the endurance-heavy system. Little breaks feel good, right, those muscles will appreciate letting the other energy system do a little work.
2) Settling BACK into easy pace will feel, well, easier. This is thanks to switching gears but also that easy pace really IS relatively easier than the faster surges.
KA-BAM!! Better run!
It’s funny that sometimes the answer to turning a really craptastic run around is to just play around with the pace, but it’s true. I did the exact thing on my run today and ended up NOT feeling like a fish stuck on the shore. Flip. Flop.
Give it a shot. There are also TWO very important times to remember that a change of pace can leave you feeling like you’ve got much fresher, faster legs:
1) Warming up before a race:
Legs can feel like crap during the slow warm-up, bust off some of that sluggishness with strides
, and miraculously you’ll feel bouncy after the gun goes off.
2) The Beginning of a Race:
Sometimes the beginning of a race can still feel harder than it should, but DON’T give up right away
, or use that as an excuse to not put in the effort. Try the same change of pace trick and bust out of the funk.
Keep on running, Runners, hopefully less craptastically!
1) Have you ever tried surges or strides mid-run to bust out of a rut?
2) Have you ever had a race where the beginning you thought you’d run horribly but your legs starting feeling better later on?
3) What is one trick you use to get through craptastic runs when they happen?
Running a hard workout or race takes a LOT of lying to yourself.
“I SWEAR it’s the last repeat!”
“Just make it ONE more mile…”
“I promise it won’t hurt THAT much.”
Hey, if it takes a little self-deception to push through to the end, then so be it, right?!
My latest Runner’s Strip Movie Short: “A Runner’s Mid-Workout Mental Twitter”
[Here is the embedded version to give you a preview but it's tough to read...click link BELOW to view larger.]
Here’s to all those lies that get us through the runs, workouts, and races!!
Posts on MENTAL TOUGHNESS
Posts on RACE TIPS
More Runner’s Strip!
1) Share a bit of mental Twitter Chatter you might have mid-workout.
2) Do you share about your running on social media sites? Which ones?
3) Best trick that you use to stay mentally tough?
Not that us distance runners are necessarily forgetful, but there are some thing we tend to lose sight going about our routines. Hopefully it’s not showering altogether…but totally no judgement if you’re still sitting in this morning’s runner clothes.
So just in case your distance runner logic is a tad skewed and you need someone else to remind you of these things…
1) “That’ll do, Pig.”
Sorry I could NOT resist the Babe reference, every time I hear ‘that’ll do’ my mind finishes it with Pig. For all those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not calling you guys pigs, I really mean “That’ll do, Runner.” Distance runners are NOTORIOUSLY the hardest on themselves, it’s that kind of type-A personality trait that can push us to be the best or be our own worst enemy.
Every now and again a runner needs to hear that they did a good job. That they HAVE worked hard enough, that they ARE mentally tough enough. All of that. Here is one reason why I always recommend runners have a [GOOD!] coach, to get that outside perspective. After a crummy race, rather than instantly jumping to, “Dang, I SUCKED! I must have been a mental weenie today…ugh.” Just stop it and be productive, “Okay, that was rough. Did I give it my all? Can I learn anything from this to do better next time? Take those answers and do with them what you will. But treat your runnerself with some kindness, mmmmk?
2) “This injury WILL end.”
In the midst of an injury it’s way too easy to jump straight to cataclysmic-mode, “I’m going to be injured FOREVER!!! FFFOOOORRREEEEVER!!!” [How many movie references can I sneak in here, right?] It can be hard to even imagine a day where you won’t be in pain. But…
…every injury WILL eventually get better. It will take time, but it will heal. So stay productive and do your cross-training but ALSO look into the source of your injury. Most often they come about because of a muscle imbalance, weakness, or compensation issue; the actual injury is merely a symptom of that. Correct the source during that time so you don’t have to wind up with the same injury again and again.
3) “You love to run.”
Bam…way to many people wind up burned out just because they have sucked the love and joy out of their running. Don’t worry, that passion can come back, but if you find yourself dreading your runs, what the heck is the point of that?! Even professional distance runners preserve their passion for running.
Running is way too ‘punishing’ a sport to force down anyone’s throat. If you’re not having fun with it, ask yourself why you’re doing it? Get the joy back in your running, and here’s my post on THAT. [Being burned out is different than those 'meh' days when your motivation is in a lull...tips for beating that HERE.]
BONUS!! Look at me, I’m just so giving. 4) Consistency trumps all.
There really is no secret to success or getting better at running. It comes from being consistent. Yes, speed workouts will make you faster, but there is no magic bullet…running hinges on consistently putting in the work. You gotta want it, right?!
1) Can you name my second movie reference?
2) What’s something you feel every runner needs to be told, and re-told again and again?
3) How do you preserve the passion with your running?
I’m aiming to corner the market for running Saturday morning cartoons. Well, not quite. But I DO have my first actual animation for you guys. This goes out to all those crazy, up-before-the-rest-of-the-world morning runners. Hey, gotta do what we gotta do!
1) What time do you usually run?
2) What’s the earliest you’ve gotten up to get your run on?
I’m a runner, not a one-woman ‘selfie’ parade. If you haven’t read a recent opinion piece by Chad Stafko on the WSJ, prepare to want to hunt the guy down and offer him a swift kick in the groin. Most likely he’ll be easy to find: his house will be the one with a mob of irate runners, he’ll already be on the ground amidst a flurry of kicks to the groin. Can’t miss him.
Mario Fraioli, senior editor at Competitor, did a nice reply to Mr. Stafko’s tribute to slothdom. Fraioli pretty much covered it but, being that I’m never short on words myself, I have a few things to add.
While my own POS car does not have a 26.2, 13.1, or even 3.1 bumper sticker on it, every time I see one out driving I instantly feel a connection to the driver of that vehicle. “You’re a runner, cool! Certainly, I’ll let you slide right over into my lane in front of me.”
When my Facebook or Twitter feeds are blowing up with pictures or reports from fellow runners after their amazing workouts or scenic runs I don’t hold it against them. I don’t begrudgingly think they are just egomaniacs…they’re merely riding an endorphin high. They’re just trying to share a bit of a contact high with their social media minions. There aren’t selfies; rather, these tributes to their runs are a few things: motivation, inspiration, proof that hard work and dedication pay off, and further evidence that running breeds a happier, more driven, productive individual. But heck, even if a runner IS to outright ‘brag’ about a PR they should…PR’s are fan-freaking-tastic! [side-note, there IS a huge difference between true running shoes and discount bin knock-offs]
I do find it a little funny that he pegs running as the satan of all sports. Where is Rodney Dangerfield? “I get no respect!” Bumper stickers and license plate rims with football or basketball teams are completely acceptable. Hey, I’d like to point out that the ‘My son is an honor roll student at Shiny Rainbows Pre-School’ bumperstickers are more laughably annoying, am I wrong?
In the end, he’s just not a runner and can’t ‘get it’. He certainly could, if he takes Fraioli up on his most generous offer, but he won’t. He doesn’t want to. That’s too bad, because really he’s the one missing out. Rather than a self-absorbed parade of one, he’d wind up a little less angry and lot more motivated to discover just HOW MUCH he can accomplish. “How fast can I get?” “How far can I run?” “How much better am I truly, when I ignore the self-imposed limits my mind puts on me?”
I run because it keeps me sane. We all run for our own reasons and, to be honest, at this point I just don’t know another way. I also don’t plan on figuring out another way either…I mean, I like my running as is.
1) Do you have any bumper stickers on your car?
2) Do you share about your runs on social media sites?
3) Why do you run?
Far too often we take things for granted. You wake up feeling ‘meh’, the run for the day not looking like the most appealing option. I mean running was there for you yesterday, in today’s motivation lull you assume you can blow it off today and running will still be waiting for you tomorrow.
It happens with everything, the random lamp in the house that’s just always been there. You don’t even notice it anymore. It just blends right in, ignored, the act of flipping the switch an unconscious act. You don’t even REALLY care about the lamp, say, until the power goes out. You flip the switch and suddenly think, “WTF?!?!” Taken for granted.
Another ‘WTF’ moment, right?
Never treat your running like a stupid, random lamp. I was having my own ‘meh’ moment not too long ago. I was about 1 minute into my run, forced myself to at least that point, but the endorphins had yet to really kick in, you know? Then I passed a house where a man in a wheelchair was working to get himself into a car. He didn’t have legs from the knee-down.
BAM…it hit me, I was too lucky to be feeling ‘meh’ about my running. I was so freaking lucky I COULD use my two legs in such a way. On my way back home I ran past the man’s house; he wasn’t there, but his car was. I could see the wheelchair lift rack in the back. Now every time I run past that black van I say a thanks to my two, whole legs. I remember to be grateful I am able to use them in suck a way and run.
Don’t feel guilty about your own ‘meh’ moments. Runnerchicks and runnerdudes, we ALL get them. Feeling complacent versus lovey-dovey and excited towards your runs go in spikes and drops. Talk to the runner who just came off of a 3 month injury and they’ll pledge to NEVER take their running for granted ever again. Find them 6 months later, a full stretch sans injuries, and certainly their ‘meh’ days are back.
I was lucky to get my reminder to kick that ‘meh’ feeling in the butt from an indirect source rather than having an injury of my own force me into missing my running fix. That’s not always the case…if you’re not injured right now and able to run, you’re lucky.
Runners, let’s take a moment to collectively celebrate what we do. Be grateful for this insane addiction to running and that we have the option to lace up and head out. I speak to all, those injured too, because those moments are some of the toughest, most crushing, and heart-breaking. If you’re not a runner that sounds way overly-dramatic, but all runners ‘get’ how hard injuries are on the psyche.
Unitedly, we’re sending positive vibes and supportive thoughts to YOU, the injured runner populous. We also send the message of: “Hang on, you’ll get back there. Take it one day at a time, do your rehab, and as sick as it sounds be grateful for your cross-training. It will get you back to running and still offers an, albeit much weaker, endorphin fix. Just hang on.”
So, Runners, if you are feeling ‘meh’ right now cut the crap: lace up, head out, and pick a moment to smile on your run. [if it's a hard workout it's okay if the smile looks like a twisted, ugly, grimace...then do a real smile after the end of those intervals. ]
1) When was your last injury?
2) When was your last ‘meh’ moment?
3) What happened; if you blew off your run what did you do instead? If you did run what mental motivation trick did you do to get out the door?
By Linda Formichelli
You’re don’t write because you’re afraid of what other people will think. What if they hate your writing? What if they hate you?
A glance at the comments on, say, a Huffington Post article shows that readers have no compunction about letting writers know exactly what they think. And sometimes it ain’t pretty.
And then there’s the fear that you’ll offend someone by being, well, yourself in your writing.
I hear you. In the past few months, here’s what I’ve experienced:
- A reader telling me I must have PMS.
- Someone who left a 400-word comment complaining that he found two typos in my blog post. He let me know he envisioned me as a frazzled lady with messy hair who has trouble coping with her life.
- A longtime reader accusing me of being a racist.
- Someone who was upset that I used the word “sissy” in an email to my subscribers.
- A woman who was perturbed that I was hosting a teleclass with three male guests.
I’m sure I’ve had other complaints, but these are the ones I remember from recent months.
Writers Aren’t the Only Ones
You may think writers are particularly vulnerable to getting complaints about their work. But even if you gave up your writing dreams and became a barista at Starbucks, someone, sometime, would hate what you do — and let you know.
Of course, you don’t pour yourself into a skinny iced caramel latte the way you do into your articles, short stories, or blog posts. When someone criticizes the foam on your drink, you get over it. When someone criticizes your writing — ouch.
If you push through the fear and get your writing out there, I guarantee that eventually you’ll piss someone off. So what do you do about it?
Dealing with People Who Complain: 5 Ways
Here are some of the tactics I use when faced with an angry reader or even a troll.
1. Set phasers to “Ignore.”
If you’re talking about trolls who smear your blog or an article you wrote with über-nasty comments, the best thing you can do is ignore them. It hurts, but remember, some people will hate on anything. If you don’t respond, they’ll soon move on to the next victim.
2. Explain without apology.
But when someone emails you an anti-fan letter, or lets you know they’re upset with something you wrote?
Most commonly, I write a short note explaining myself without apology. (This is assuming I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong. If I make a mistake, I do apologize.) If the reader accepts that, all is good.
But sometimes, the reader is still not appeased or has another nit to pick. In that case, I hit Delete. There’s just no making some people happy — and the truth is, your job as a writer is not to make everyone happy.
Instead of working your butt off to please someone who’s unhappy with you, pour your energy into thrilling the ones who love you.
3. Kill them with kindness.
Even if I’m about to explode over something a reader has said to me, I don’t spew my anger on them. I complain to my husband and my friends and get it out of my system so I can deal with the reader without going ballistic.
Saying “Thanks so much for sharing your insights!” to an unhappy reader defuses them — whereas if you come at them with teeth bared, you’re in for a downward spiral.
4. Laugh it off.
I still remember when Diana’s and my book The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success first came out, and we gleefully posted a glowing Publishers Weekly review on a writers’ forum.
One woman in the forum blasted us over the idea of the book and went on to say we shouldn’t be proud that PW called the book “upbeat and exceptionally informative” because, hey, who do books by women always have to be upbeat? Why can’t we just be serious?
I was crushed (this was our first book — my baby!) and thought up all kinds of replies to put this woman in her place. But then Diana took over. Her response? “I guess you won’t be wanting the Renegade Writer mug, then.”
Diana’s response was perfect. It defused the situation, showed the poster we weren’t going to let her comment affect us, and kept us from wasting time arguing with a single crabby writer.
5. Buck your genes.
We’re genetically wired to seek out and pay attention to threats in our environment, which means we often ignore positive circumstances.
I fall into this trap — I let one negative review or snippy email ruin my hour, even though I have dozens of great reviews and get tons of nice emails from readers. For example, the post by the woman who wasn’t thrilled with our Publishers Weekly review was surrounded by posts from people who were. Why didn’t I think of them instead?
It’s not easy to think about the many positives in your writing career when you come up against a single negative, but make an effort to do this when you find yourself faced with a troll or an angry reader. Let yourself get upset for a minute, complain to a friend — but then remember the editor who loved your article, the kind comment you got on a recent blog post, or the letter from a reader who was moved by your work.
How about you: Have you ever dealt with an angry reader, or even a troll? What did you do about it? Share your experiences and tips in the Comments below!
“If you’ve got an issue, here’s a tissue.” Certainly that fits with the ‘runner mentality’ for many things. Intervals hurt, well, they’re going to hurt until we finish all the repeats.
Long runs are…long. Yup, that’s how it goes. Just keep telling yourself to make it one more mile, one more mile, etc…until your done!
Then the legs start having their issues. They’ll start begging for their own tissues. The way to stave off some total toddler-level tantrums from the legs are to supply them their tissues on a consistent basis BEFORE their demands are too high.
* Tissue 1: Warming the heck up
Runner bones are just, well, better bones.
. Don’t go into a workout with ‘cold’ legs. Don’t immediately blast like a bat out of he**, your legs like a little warning. “We’re going to workout now”…gradually lower into the pace and you’ll feel better, wind up running faster, and avoid the lactic acid booty-lock shuffle home.
* Tissue 2: Stretching. Yea, stretching is NEVER as much fun as running but if you want to run better you need to be loose. You’ve got to have the flexibility to open up your stride, you want as much range of motion as possible. So suck it up, get your stretching and yoga time in, your legs will thank you with faster times AND less injuries.
* Tissue 3: Massage. Look, I’ll be honest and say I’m as not-rich as the next person, so I self-massage regularly but I’m ALSO re-learning how imperative it is to see a professional massage therapist when I can. Running is pretty abusive on the body and to un-do some of that damage you need that massage work. Look at it as an investment in YOURSELF. Namely your sanity (my sanity hinges upon my endorphin fix) because the longer you run the more important it is to get that tissue work. Well, that is if you’d like to keep running for the rest of your life. [Side-note, I'll be doing another post on this later but my massage therapist of choice is Al Kupczak in Boulder, CO...Boulder Body Therapy. He's a massage GOD. Works on Olympians and us mortal runners alike.]
* Tissue 4: Proper pacing. I guess this more fittingly could be said as separating your easy and hard days. Run your easy days EASY. Scr*w the pace and run for effort, whatever effort that allows you to recover. Then, come your hard days you’ll have the bounce to go fast. Also recognize the difference between a workout and a race. Come race day you want to elevate to that next level, that’s tough to do if you’re redlining ever.single.hard.workout. Got it? Well, race day is also boosted by the mental energy and excitement, but still, don’t race all of your workouts, People, mmmmk?
* Tissue 5: Refuel. Said it zillions of times…hit that 30 minute post-workout recovery window. Get 20-25 grams of protein and some carbs into your system to jumpstart muscle recovery, repair, and regrowth. That way your legs will come back feeling better and stronger for your next run, your next workout, your next race.
The body of a runner is constantly crying and complaining. What a pain the butt, right? Thankfully we’re mentally tough BUT we’ve also got to be smart enough to give our complaining legs and muscles their pre-emptive tissues to at least limit their tantrums.
Running ‘tough’ is a yin-yang sort of thing, my last post is all about how being ‘tough’ isn’t always about running through the pain or pushing. Being smart and all that.
1) Do you have a tissue to add?
2) How often do you see a professional massage therapist?
GO VISIT AL!
3) How good are you at hitting the 30 minute refuel window?
One of the trickiest things about running is it’s wrought with ambiguities. So many fine lines: how hard is too hard, what is too easy, when to push rather than pull-back, and differentiating between what kind of pain requires you to put your big girl/boy pants on and suck it up versus the kind of pain where you need to stop. That’s not even the full list of running ambiguities.
For a runner that’s training, in order to improve there are plenty of times where it just plain hurts. Part of training becomes callousing your mind to that pain, using mental tricks to dull the complaints from your mind and muscles, and getting used to the discomfort. But then we also are told of the importance of easy days, recognizing the signs of burn-out, or days when the legs just don’t show up and the workout needs to be adjusted.
Paramount of all kinds of pain for runners to be able to correctly identify are the ones signaling an injury.
All this is enough to make your brain run in circles!
Catch that pain early enough and you could avoid a chunk of time off and lost training, or push through that pain, keep running, and wind up going until you’re literally broken.
The conundrum only goes further as no one can really EXPLAIN all these wrong pains and fine lines. Tired versus lazy, too easy versus too hard, etc. because everyone interprets pain differently and has a different pain threshold. When one runner says their leg hurts, depending on the person that could mean their calf is sore or their hamstring was torn and it’s balled up down near their knee.
Sometimes a runner needs a swiftkick in the butt, other times a runner faces an even harder reality and they need to cut themselves a break. Get doing this running business long enough and the word ‘day off’ reads as a death sentence.
Times for the Kick in the Pants VS. the Death Sentence (aka when a runner needs to ease up):
* Tough Love: It’s just a day where you’re feeling ‘meh’. You’re tired, you’d rather sit down, go out with your friends, the run just isn’t the most enticing thing. Motivation lulls happen, TIPS HERE, you just have to lace up and get going. The first mile will be the hardest, then you get into it.
* Corny Tender Lovin’ Care: It’s been a string of days where you feel ‘meh’. Your legs are more than tired, they’re heavy…every.single.time.out. Time to assess your training, your workouts, health, etc. What’s up? Are you digging yourself a hole?
* Tough Love: The workout for the day plain scares you. The first mistake is dwelling on that fear; it’s even risky admitting to yourself you’re scared of it. NEVER out-think yourself from a workout before you even start. Be confident in yourself, but sometimes you need to just fake that confidence, every runner does that too…but they don’t tell you. The pain, times, workouts can be scary if you really think about them…so you don’t. We play the ignorance is bliss card and just START. Then take everything as it comes.
* Corny TLC: You’re running the workout and the times are horrible, like deplorable. The conditions are just as heinous, you feel like you’re running on the sun, or into a headwind, or through a snowstorm. Don’t take the times at face value here, go off of effort. Numbers can’t tell the whole story, and if you start berating yourself for the slow times then you’ll wind up sandbagging the workout and not getting the benefit. It comes down to EFFORT…conditions are not an excuse, they really do affect the times. Still put in the effort, and the workout will give you the benefits intended.
* Suck it Up:
Runners are tough…sometimes TOO tough.
You just got passed in a race. Rather than let your mind tell you, “Welp, we’re tired anyways, so who cares…let them go.” You need to FIGHT. Leach onto that runner, get right on their butt, and use them to tow you along…tuck in. A race isn’t over until you cross the line; you can gather energy behind them and surge later
* MAJOR Corny TLC:
Bam…you’re running and you step wrong, your quad lights up. You know that pain…a mile later and the pain hasn’t diminished. You’re tempted, “It’s okay, I know I can just finish this workout, I can get through it.” But that knot in your stomach knows the truth; if you push it until the end of the run you’ll probably be limping all day, if walking at all. Rather than running until you’re broken, be SMART and STOP. Hit up the injury rehab and cross-training
for a little while now, rather than being chained to the da** cross-trainer for months.
Good pain, bad pain? Too hard, too easy? So many lines, so many ambiguities, so many decisions to be made on the fly. The longer you run though, the better you get at recognizing the differences and when you need a kick in the pants versus cutting yourself a *gasp* break.
1) What’s a time when a runner needs the kick in the pants?
2) Give an example of when some corny TLC is in order?
3) Lessons are often learned the hard way, share a story of a lesson you learned as such.
Oh I’m so proud, I’ve been diligently helping spread the running infection. Last night I ordered my cute little high school friend a pair of running shoes. I’ve been working on her for months, when she told me she wished she could be a runner.
“Be a runner?” I said, “Anyone can BE a runner.” That’s the funny thing, most people think you either pop out with your Nike running shoes on or you don’t. The ones who don’t are sadly shunned from society, left to wallow away through life sans any endorphins via miles. Just kidding.
The cool place all runners get to hang out.
But I told her anyone can become a runner, at any age, and regardless of starting fitness level. Probably the greatest thing about our sport, regardless of genetics, if you are consistent with your running you WILL improve and get better.
The beauty of running a PR (personal best for any of you newbie runners) can be felt by ANYONE. You just have to work for it. Earning that sweaty, glorious time is tough but so worth it. It becomes tougher the longer you run, the improvement curve doesn’t always sky-rocket away like it does soon after you become a runner. That just means you have to work harder AND smarter.
Back to my friend though, I’ve been so proud watching her go from barely making two miles and now busting out 6 miles. I was, however, APPALLED…I mean appalled at the raggedy-@$$ shoes she was running in.
When I say I was appalled, I’m not in ANY way judging her or disappointed in her AT ALL. Most new runners just really don’t have any idea how crucial it is to have the right kind of shoes. Also the age of their shoes. “My foot kind of hurt after my last run, I think I need a new pair…I love these shoes but maybe a year and a half is too long to still be using them.”
A YEAR AND A HALF!! My mind freaked the freak out, only because I know how much a ‘dead’ pair of running shoes can turn into an injury bomb. Granted, she did other things and wasn’t logging mega miles in them, but still. A pair of shoes should never be out there on the mean streets logging miles if they’ve seen 500 miles or more. Time for a new pair, baby!
So I assessed her foot type and we’ve gotten her squared away with dem new running shoes. We also got to talking about things that make running go by faster and what makes those miles feel like an eternity:
1) The Scenic Route: Per minute, running on the treadmill feels like about 10 minutes. Just kidding.
2) Training Partners: Having a training partner makes those miles zip by quicker too. I mean that figuratively AND literally if the workout for the day are repeats or a hard run. Working WITH someone and getting ‘towed’ along during intervals will wind-up with faster splits that ‘feel’ easier than if you were running alone.
3) Being fitter. The reason most non-runners think they can’t ‘be’ a runner is because running a few minutes feels KILLER and they don’t understand how anyone could run multiple miles. The reason is because they just aren’t fit enough. The body adapts, it grows stronger, cardiovascular fitness and endurance improves the more CONSISTENT you are with your running. Eventually you get to the point where 2 miles are easy because you’re comfortably able to run 4 miles, then 4 are easy because you’re regularly running 6 miles. You get the picture.
So now it’s your turn. Keep spreading this running thing across the lands…prove to the non-believers that ANYONE can ‘be’ a runner…they just have to try.
1) When did you start running? What caused you to try?
I sucked at all sports requiring an ounce of coordination. I can turn left.
2) Is there anyone you have inspired to become a runner?
3) What’s one thing that makes your running go by faster?
Running changes lives. It seeps into every facet of our lives, our being, our personality.
What running grants upon us isn’t purely the physical…but let’s be honest, runners have ROCKING legs!
Legs concrete hard, calloused from all the miles we force upon them. The workouts that toughen our muscles as much as our minds.
A runner’s brain is hard-wired for work and dedication. Numbers as benchmarks, goals we hold steadfast too. A runner’s mind is a powerful weapon. We see obstacles not as impossible but merely as challenges.
It’s fun to watch new runners ‘transform’ into one of us, one of us ‘crazies’. Eventually there comes the day where they scratch their head and say, “I used to dread this stuff, but now I go crazy if I DON’T run!”
Running is infectious.
Confidence. That is the big one. Self-esteem comes from knowing you are STRONGER than most. Stronger than most non-runners even care to bother wondering if they could handle. We push our own limits.
Eventually runners see our own physicality different. We are not just ‘things’ to look at, our bodies, our legs, our arms, our glutes, our core is a vehicle for DOING.
This running infection, it percolates into every pore, oozes into our ‘real life’, makes us more resilient for all of life’s other tests.
Life will test us. But when you’re a runner you’ve been there, been tested plenty. You’re concrete hard and will PERSEVERE through anything.
1) What physical body part are you most proud of?
2) What personality trait are you proud of that has grown stronger through running?
3) Running seeps into all of life’s other areas, my friends make fun of me when….[finish the sentence]
I do my funny lunges and squats in front of the house after my run.
It’s safe to say I’m probably a runner more than just three times over, but tonight we’re keeping it at three.
I run because it keeps me sane. If I don’t I get withdrawals and turn into a horrible monster. Does that make me addicted?
I also run because, let’s face it, eating like a runner is SOOOO worth it.
Running will make you smile…but it will also make you grimace. It’s the sick joy us runners get in pushing ourselves. Pain brings rewards: PR’s. And they’re worth is.
We’re runners more than three times over, but see, there are just too many reasons to list why running makes us feel so stinking good.
Find more cartoonage HERE.
Find nutrition tips for runners HERE.
Find racing tips HERE.
1) What’s a caption you could fit to this picture? If you’re a runnerdude, then we’ll pretend there’s no ponytail.
2) What food do you most often dream of during those long runs?
3) If you could describe the face you make heading towards the finish line, what would it be?
So is this runner still alive? Yes, don’t worry, and rest assured I’ve been putting in my miles like a good little Arty Runnerchick as well. I apologize for my slight dip into obscurity for awhile here, but the GOOD news is I’ve been working on a few awesome projects for you. So do stay tuned for more on that. Lots of artage and wordage is to be expected.
Today is a special day. The Earth actually paused for a minute, did you feel it while you were out on your run? It’s actually my mom’s birthday!! She’s also the person responsible for getting me addicted to this whole running thing in the first place.
Growing up I watched my mom get up at the crack of dawn to get her run in before dashing us off to school and then go to work. I believe the best way to beat this whole slothy-obesity issue is for parents to lead by example. She did that for all of us kids. What’s more is she is a living, breathing, excuse-buster.
She’s popped out four kids, works two jobs, is Team Mom for my littlest brother’s Football and Rugby teams, goes to every game or event possible one of us chillun takes part in, and STILL makes fitness a priority. Like me, she’s not shy in saying her workouts help keep her sane.
My mom was also my training partner while I was still living in their house. I’ve run more miles with her than anyone else in the world. Easy days, she would be a trooper and get up for my runs at unholy hours because I had to be at school. So today I’m sharing some things I learned from the best woman in the world…
1) Consistency: Everyone non-runner or non-worker-outer in the world has asked us ‘freaks’, “What’s your secret?” There is no flippity-flip secret to staying in shape and getting faster, stronger, and better. It takes putting in the work every day. Motivating yourself when you’re not feeling it, and doing the work. Be consistent and I swear you’ll improve.
2) Hardest Part is Done: We’d joke after our runs, “Well, hardest part of the day is done!” It’s kind of true to a point. Running, even those ‘easy’ days, is never purely easy. There’s always some discomfort, that’s the point, it’s work. Running also makes you tougher in life; it teaches you to persist, persevere, and work towards goals even when things get tedious.
3) Easy Does Count: I’m not a hypocrite here, but getting back to those easy days…you need them. My coach loved that my mom would ‘keep me honest’ and make sure I didn’t go too hard on many of those easy days. Runners need those easy days so they can recover and then be able to actually go hard on those hard days.
4) Love the Run: Every runner goes through lulls in motivation, but there is a difference between a lull and burn-out. My mom taught me that you should never come to begrudge running, because if you do that too long you’ll lose your passion for it. Cherish the run, and if you see the signs of mental burn-out, catch it for what it is, do what you have to do, and find that SPARK again.
I have an infinite amount of respect for mothers who are leading by example. Staying fit, making running (or whatever workout) a priority, and showing their children that running and working out is freaking AWESME!
1) Did you grow up with parents who were fit?
I thought every mom ran before school up until I started doing sleep-overs at my friends’.
2) What is something you say when non-runners ask you, “What’s your secret?”
3) How do you keep your running spark alive?
By Daisha Cassel
If you’re doing it right–and making a good living off it–freelance writing is a real job. In fact, most successful freelance writers put in well over 40 hours a week when they are getting their businesses off the ground.
Unfortunately, though, a lot of wannabe writing pros are unprepared when they decide to take the plunge and go freelance. Here, 5 ways to know that it’s time to say sayonara to the Schedule C and start sending out your resume.
1. You’re on the verge of bankruptcy and your basic needs aren’t being met.
You don’t have two nickels to rub together and are in dire straits! But you think freelance writing will net you fast, fast cash.
There’s a reason you’ve never seen a late-night infomercial or a back-pages ad in Popular Mechanics touting this profession as a get-rich-quick scheme. Not only does it take skill and hard work, but it’s one of the worst jobs to have if you’re already living paycheck to paycheck.
Unlike a job with an employer, you can’t count on a weekly or bi-weekly shot in the bank account. (One high-profile newspaper once took seven months to get a check out to me, and many freelancers have horror stories of never getting payment from shuttered mags and deadbeat publishers.)
Let’s not forget that the old adage “It takes money to make money” applies here too. You’re not sitting around in a safari jacket scrawling your next magnum opus with an affordable feather pen, are you? At the very least you need a reliable computer, internet connection, and phone to function as a business. It’s hard to focus on an interview when can’t pay the bill for the cell phone you’re conducting it on.
And “basic needs” are more than food, water, and those two proverbial nickels. Do you have health insurance? Are you contributing to a self-employed retirement plan or IRA? Do you have an emergency fund to cover those times when you, too, might wait seven months for a check to come in?
If your basic needs aren’t being met, you may want to consider seeking out employment until you’re over the hump.
2. When you read the beginning of this post you wondered, “What’s a Schedule C?”
Writing can be a hobby, but freelancing is a business.
When you go into business yourself, you are your own employer. This means things that your boss or the company accountant did on your behalf when you worked a 9-to-5 are now up to you.
It’s a legal requirement that you withhold and pay your own federal, state and local income taxes. (And guess what: since employers chip in to their employees social security and Medicare tax contributions, and you are now your own employer, your bill could be even bigger.)
If you haven’t been sending in tax payments, or even filing taxes on your earnings at all, you’re not just in violation of the law—you also aren’t treating freelancing like a real job.
3. You get nothing but rejections–and that’s on a good day.
“Nice” rejections where editors and clients ask you to stay in touch are one thing. But if you’re pitching plenty and hearing back never, or you only get boilerplate rejections, it may be time to reconsider the source of your future income.
If you don’t know when you’ll land your next article, then you don’t know when you’ll get your next paycheck. That uncertainty leads to desperation—both financial and emotional. It is one thing to be perseverant and another to be a glutton for punishment!
4. You’re amassing clips and experience, but not cash.
You’re writing for pennies a word (or less!), but your big break is right around the corner, right?
Don’t count on it.
Many a fledgling freelance writer has toiled away for far too long in the depths of content mills, (very) small regional magazines, and other no-or-low paying gigs in the name of “getting clips and experience.”
Sure, you need to have clips to show off your mad skills, but editorial standards tend to be as low as the pay in these cases, and no editor will be impressed by a barrage of hyperlinks to penny-a-word articles.
My advice? Completely skip the content mills, and start pitching to the big boys as quickly as you have a good idea. Most editors will be more receptive to a great query supported by a single clip than a mediocre, poorly researched one with lots of mediocre clips.
If you just can’t bring yourself to pitch high-paying markets, it may be time to consider getting a job and relegating freelance writing to “hobby” status.
5. You’re more worried about keeping up appearances than making a living.
A reader recently wrote in to Linda saying that she is on the verge of bankruptcy, and freelancing hasn’t worked out for her after several attempts, but she finds the idea of working in retail or food service “distasteful.”
Personally, I have a greater aversion to not having a paycheck when the mortgage is due and there’s no food on the table.
Maybe you made a big to-do about leaving the rat race behind, and now…it’s not going so well. This is important, people: do what you have to do to make things work for you financially.
If you love writing and feel like you just need a little more momentum, then keep it up as a second job while you take on something that pays the bills. Once it really does pick up, then you can slide back into a life of writing full time and kick that other job to the curb.
In the meantime, there is honor in doing what it takes to support yourself and your family. Think about it: would you rather say out loud that you are taking a new job in addition to your writing so you can pad your bank account, or that you don’t have enough money to feel your family and keep the lights on?
Bottom line: freelance writing can be a satisfying and lucrative work, but it takes a greater commitment to be your own employer than it does to be an employee. Do you have any other tips for fellow freelancers about self-employment? Share them in the comments below.
Daisha Cassel is a freelance writer who keeps four nickels in her pocket at all times just in case she ever wants to experience the luxury of rubbing two nickels together in stereo.
Every runner should believe in magic. They’ve felt it. It’s there every time you have one of those runs. Everything syncs. Once you’ve felt THAT…you know magic exists.
So we keep chasing that feeling.
Tips for RACING.
1) Did you race this weekend?
2) Last time you had one of those days?
3) Last time you were super mentally tough and pushed through one of the opposite of those days?
Runners are tough, we thrive under challenges.
Need more reasons why runners are tough? No shortage HERE, HERE, and HERE!
More cartoons HERE!
1) What challenge are you working towards?
2) What is a memorable horrible weather run you have?
3) How do you make it through really though moments in a run?
Tell myself to make it 5 minutes more…just keep going.
Being still makes me nervous. Being at ease makes me feel uncomfortable…it’s like it’s just too easy. Quantifiably, perfectly insane runner logic I’m sure. But it’s true both physically and mentally.
My mind races way faster than my legs do these days. One of the reasons I love running, find comfort in it, is that for a moment (well, however long my run is, so longer than a moment) my brain IS at ease. The maniacal whirring is channelled down to a single task. Honed down to the run.
Running gives me an odd sense of time; hours could pass by in the blitz of an eye. Conversely, single minutes can feel like eternity (hello interval repeats!). But through all of it, my flipping brain gives me a break and shuts the heck up!
Silenced. Put at a COMFORTABLE ease. Left. Right. Left.
Your brain can be your greatest asset as a runner or your greatest weakness. HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE are all posts related to the mental side of running and coming out the winner in the pain, brain drain game.
1) Zoning out during a race or hard workout is an effective way to numb out the pain and keep pushing. What is one way you ‘zone out’?
Pick a spot on the person ahead of me and think of nothing else.
2) Easy runs are apt to leave your mind wandering and coming up with some crazy thoughts. Care to share some of the stranger thoughts you’ve had?
3) A minute has never felt longer than ————, a minute has never felt shorter than ————.
…during the second to last interval…during any kind of recovery between reps
You know the kind of feeling where your running shoes are staring up at you, two gaping black holes where your feet SHOULD be.
In case you ever need that extra shove out the door I introduce to you the latest line in running shoes. Other quotes include:
* Love me.
* Erase me.
* I see you.
* That pint will taste better earned.
* You can’t see any writing on a winner’s shoes.
Whatever your shoes are saying to you, don’t let them mock you. Shut them up. Put your feet in them and get running.
1) What should be another quote/quip to add to our line or running shoes with sass?
2) What’s something you tell yourself if you’re lacking in the motivation department?
Remind myself that my own running guilt is NOT worth putting up with if I weenie out.
3) If we were to offer a line of spikes with writing on the soles, what should they read?
I think if we were to let people sharpie in some PR goals…just be ready to scratch out and re-sharpie.
It’s ‘easy’ to run fast when everything is going right. Ideal conditions, you’re hitting perfect splits, the legs have POP. The thing is though, the real test of a runner and their mental toughness is how they respond to all the other days.
There will workouts in heat, wind, and rain. Runs where, for whatever reason your legs just don’t ‘show up’…they are flat. Other times you’ll be left gutting out a really tough workout but forced to run it solo. But you can’t take those things as EXCUSES. FACTORS, certainly, perhaps you’ll have to adjust the workout, but don’t start looking for a cop-out.
See, your mind is an expert manipulator. It’s already looking for ANY kind of excuse, viable reason to tell you to stop this silly running, ease up, slow down, cut yourself some slack. A runner’s constantly working against that sort of ingrained human trait, to push past the limits the mind is imposing on the body.
A runner must combat the voices of doubt and complaining already…think of it like a basal level of white noise in the background that you must ignore just to get out the door and running the first few steps. Hard workouts up the ante, taking that constant background chatter and giving it a megaphone; you’ve got to not only ignore it but COMBAT it by telling it to, “Shut the h*** up!” Gearing yourself up to run hard takes extra mental reserves, through the course of the workout the amount of positive self-talk escalates as you tire, as the pain REALLY sets in.
Running that hard workout when things are all falling into place, the momentum of hitting the splits and you’re clicking, is infinitely easier than when even ONE thing is off. (ex: it’s hot out) That single ‘off-factor’ and your mind JUMPS on the opportunity for a cop-out, “Just cut yourself some slack, I mean it’s hot out.”
Ease up and that quickly can morph into this the next hard workout: “Just cut yourself some slack, your legs just feel flat today. It’s not your fault…just ease up today and next time when your legs feel really good we’ll go hard…deal?”
See, that slippery, manipulative brain of yours works fast. You can’t wait for that ‘perfect’ day for a few reasons:
1) PERFECT: Those fan-freaking-tasting workouts are the anomaly, wait around for them and they darn well may never come.
2) VICIOUS CYCLE: Start giving in to that whining brain every time the pain sets in and things get tough and it’s the snowball effect. Soon you’ll be pulling out every time you have a hangnail on your pinkie toe.
Bad workouts and horrible races happen, they actually make you a TOUGHER runner because if you can mentally get through them, stay strong and still give it all you had for the day, you’ll prove something very important to yourself:
I can run when it sucks. I can run better when it doesn’t suck…but I CAN run when things are really sucky.
Those mental battles, where you win, build confidence. You need that. Conversely, take too many of those excuses to not still give it your all out there running and you get used to it. Getting used to that is like the kiss of death for a runner…it’s like a fatal virus. Because running hurts, despite how much we must deny it to ourselves for the sake of actually doing it.
You have to be tough to be a runner. The TOUGH runners are the ones who battle through even when the splits are off, they get stuck in no-man’s land during a race, and they’re doing a hard workout by themselves.
Some of the workouts you should be most proud of may have been where you were running horribly off pace, but you got through it. You were TOUGH. Next time, when the legs do show up, the times will come but you’ll have the extra confidence of knowing you can run hard when things suck.
1) Weather is certainly something to FACTOR into your workouts of course and adjust the times. How do you plan to adjust due to the elements and conditions outside of your control?
2) How do you handle the workouts where your legs just don’t show up for the day? What kind of positive self-talk do you turn to?
3) Share a workout or race that you are proud of for your mental toughness, maybe a part of the story the actual numbers can’t fully recount.
Lately it feels like my brain is running way faster than my legs could ever keep pace. That’s a darn shame, because one would certainly opt for running a new PR rather than mentally shouting, “SHUT UP!” to your brain at 2am and imploring it to go to bed.
Speaking of PR’s, track racing season is getting to be in full swing. Some people have a bit of a phobia when it comes to the track, others find the monotony of double-digit laps, well, monotonous. The thing with track though, is it BLEEDS speed…as a runner, how can you not love that?
Each distance is unique, duh, the number of laps to the race you’ll be running presents its own challenges. The ratio of speed to endurance, the contrast between utter lactic ONSLAUGHT from the gun versus the more gradual building of the pain in the 10k. Both grueling, just in a different way.
Each race has a ‘volatile’ factor. This would be the crucial moments and laps that can make or break your race. The margins of time where if you’re not ON IT you may have very well lost the race even if you’re still got laps and laps to go.
There’s not just ONE moment in time of course, but for the sake of brevity let’s highlight a few of the volatile factors for the events:
* 1500/Mile: That dang third lap. Here is where the pain of the pace has already set in, the ‘taste’ of the finish isn’t quite close enough to kick in. Your mind starts to dauntingly anticipate that grueling last lap. COMBAT: Know that third lap is going to suck, know that it will make your race if you can pass the people letting their brain wander.
* 3200: Right around laps 4-6 it is easy to let your brain check-out. It’s prime time to make a move, surge and establish a gap on those who either went out too fast for that first mile or the poor souls who are just letting their mind wander. COMBAT: Go out on pace the first mile and throw down a move…remember the beauty of negative splits.
* 5k: It’s funny how running that first mile can feel so easy, a breeze, too easy. The middle mile is where you need to wrangle your brain and keep it FOCUSED. Much like the 3rd lap of the mile, the middle of your 5k can lapse into a fog if you’re not careful. COMBAT: Don’t let yourself get pulled out too fast the first mile, stay mentally engaged the middle mile, and anticipate the cold slap of pain somewhere after the second mile. It’s funny how it can suddenly sneak up on you, but be prepared for it and stay strong through to the finish.
Each race has its own set of ‘volatile’ factors…that’s what makes each and every track distance so fun. It’s a test, as is everything with running, testing mostly yourself. The competition is there as an opportunity to propel your performances forward…feed off of their presence.
Track is awesome, just don’t let the distance of the race pull a fast one on you. Be prepared and then enjoy the unique challenges of each event.
1) What is your favorite track distance to race?
2) Pick a distance I didn’t highlight and share one of their ‘volatile’ factors.
3) Share a ‘volatile’ factor that I didn’t address for one of the above races.
Getting a runner to be faster is an interesting undertaking. It’s actually a concept that coaches and athletes have been trying to perfect for centuries. As science has improved, training has evolved, we’ve created training phases and workouts that push the runner and train their body.
Simplistically it’s easy to sum it up like this: if you want to run faster, run faster. This is true of course, doing speed work and improving your base speed, is going to enable a runner to run a faster pace as the distance gets longer. As in, if you improve your mile time you’ll be able to run a 5k and 10k faster. If you don’t do speed work you’ll never improve your speed.
Though as I said, that’s overly simplistic, and if a runner is truly wanting to see how fast they can be they need to open their eyes and expand their training logs to include ALL of the factors that make a runner faster. You see, the body is an interconnected machine, you can’t just concentrate on straight running workouts.
I’ve been working on a series for Competitor.com tied to speed work and the other techniques that enable a runner to, well, run faster. There are drills, strength work, and a neuromuscular component to getting faster.
Check out the series so far:
What Distance Runners Can Learn From Sprinters
The Neuromuscular Component to Speed Work
Distance Runners Staying SHARP During an Injury
In reading each of them you’ll see that the first step to getting faster is working on your shorter-repeat speed. You shouldn’t avoid those 200′s even if you’re a 10k and above runner. But that’s ONE step in the process.
After that you’ve got to build the synapses and teach the nerves to fire faster; your brain is ‘telling’ your legs and foot to move faster. But if you don’t build the connections the ‘message’ won’t be able to travel faster from brain to foot.
A runner’s form is also related, and the articles touch on that. Running faster takes POWER and EXPLOSIVE propulsion from your muscles. Your muscles also need to be ‘waken-up’ and eased into the movements of running. That’s why a proper warm-up is so important for your had workouts and races. There will be more on that specifically in upcoming articles.
So if you’d like to run faster, even if you’re a marathoner, it’s important to realize that it’s a multi-pronged approach. It will take time too, but consistency is the law of distance running and THAT is what will, in the end, take you to the next level.
Consistently incorporate speed work, speed-endurance, and endurance work into your training.
Consistently be working on your core and strength routines.
Consistency with foot-firing and ladder drills that play off of the short speed sessions.
Practice, improve, and then have a coach or be a student of the sport if you’re training yourself.
Without going on a long tangent, a big mistake many new runners are making is getting swept up in marathon and mileage mania. They just want to do more, more, more. That’s fine, but if you want to get faster you need to TRAIN to run faster. That’s where quality of miles becomes more important than just quantity.
I hope you enjoy the series so far and keep on the lookout for the next ones. Running is an action that can be broken down to be incredibly simplistic: left, right, left. Running faster can also be thought of in simple fashion: run faster. BUT it’s a lot more complicated, and to be honest insanely interesting, than just that.
To run faster you’ve got to be training your body to do so on multiple levels.
1) What’s a concept about speed work that you have learned from this series so far?
2) Have you done any work geared toward training your neuromuscular system to get you faster? Or is this a new idea to you?
3) If you’re training to get faster, what are some of your ‘staple’ speed sessions?
I’m a neurotic runner, my parents are also neurotic fitness folks, my sister is a kick@$$ cross-fitter, my littlest brother is headed to the rugby State Champs. No, I’m not trying to brag on my siblings here, (well, maybe a bit) but more make a point that I’m lucky in that my immediate family ‘gets it’ when it comes to making running and fitness a priority.
As in it’s awesome to be able to say without any guilt, “Sorry, can’t make it to such-and-such I’ve got to go run.” Point taken, understood.
Or how about when there’s rain pouring down, the wind is blowing like mad and you’re about to step out for your run…your mom is heading out with you. You both look at each other and laugh mid-run when the wind literally blew you into her. #builtintrainingpartner
I grew up where getting out and running, or sweating SOME HOW, everyday is a sort of given rather than a question. Now I also write and do art about running. Wow, I really have made myself well-rounded.
So today, I’m not going to lie I really just have to laugh sometimes at the contrast between my own viewpoint on running and fitness and that of some other people.
I read on Twitter some chick complaining that she couldn’t run because she forgot her ipod. Seriously? I’ve done miles on the treadmill staring at a wall. #boring #suckitup
It was pretty windy a few days back, I got home and a neighbor remarked, “You actually ran in that?” Ummm, sir, I’d run through the eye of a hurricane if it came between getting a run in or not.
Sorta rainy a few days back and I overheard a couple in line at the store saying, “Darn, the forecast is rainy again tomorrow…guess we can’t go on our bike ride.” Again, reference above.
Am I bit skewed? Maybe brainwashed by the miles?
Horror beyond horrors, and I may receive some hate on this for sounding like a fitness snob, are the people who are constantly getting surges of ‘motivation’. These surges occur not when they are in the middle of a run, while running repeats at the track, or even when they are wearing a pair of running shoes. These are the people who at 9pm are struck with the overwhelming desire to become a runner. To get fit.
“Okay, I’m doing it!” They ask for tons of tips, maybe even pay for weeks of workouts, trainers, diet books…whatever. Buuuuuut…come the next morning it’s a little windy. The day after that it’s raining. Maybe they forget their ipod the next day.
It’s alright, I acknowledge I’m probably a tad on the more obessive side with this whole running thing. Though at least I know I’m not alone. There are others out there smirking and balking at some of the excuses people have in blowing off a run.
I know I’m not the only runner out there who will arrange their day in accordance to their running or training. Hey, I got plenty of retweets and FB comments when I bagged on the girl who forgot her ipod.
If not in the ‘real world’ then darn-it at least I have a safe-haven for being a fitness snob within my immediate family…and I guess that’s all an obsessive, neurotic runner could ask for.
1) What’s one of the funnier things people have said to you obviously showing they just don’t ‘get it’ in terms of being consistent with running or working out?
2) Admittedly sometimes being neurotic can go too far, but it’s funny to laugh at ourselves. What’s an instance that you maybe are even just a bit embarrassed to say you did in order to get a run or workout in?
I’ll be brave. Sneaking out at 3am when I was supposed to be on a break and going for a short run may not have been my finest hour. There are worse, but I’m only so brave…lol.
3) Most boring, mind-numbing experience you’ve had on a stationary machine, but you did it without an ipod or TV?
Staring at a wall for 8 miles, or when I was doing a rowing machine in a garage with a nice view of the driveway.
A runner’s brain is constantly being flooded by sensory input information. Feedback from the muscles, skin, lungs, eyes, ears, feet, nerves from everything. It’s a matter of taking all of these messages and warping them into what is in the runners’ best interest.
The Physical Messages
Typically the loudest feedback responders are going to be from your muscles and lungs. Here comes relays from your cardiovascular system and lactic threshold responders. The muscles announcing they are being worked, those mitochondria are breaking down glycogen and supplying your energy to run on; they are attention mongers demanding to be credited for their work.
These are pretty basic, primordial messages to your brain. Instinctual. You can’t change that these messages will be sent and that they are mostly containing shouts of pain, complaints, and fatigue.
You can’t control what messages are coming in while you are running but you CAN control how you interpret them. A runner that is mentally tough is able to manage and get as close to ignoring certain sensory feedback as they can.
* Anticipate: Incidentally the ability to manage what your legs and body are telling you while you run starts before the first step. This is anticipating the uncomfort in pain. It is a reality, but it is one we must both accept and deny. Accept the race and workouts will hurt but deny that we will let that pain break us. Anticipating the pain is a lot different from fearing it.
* Realize: Once you realize that EVERYONE will hurt when they push themselves running, not just you, a runner doesn’t feel alone. Admitting pain is present is not a weakness, admitting that these workouts are tough isn’t a weakness…it only becomes a weakness when you start to believe you can’t do the workouts.
* Assess: As you run assess the messages you’re being told and start to ‘sort’ them. Pain of a workout is present and it’s a different pain from that of an injury. Sort the ‘usual’ pain into the ‘ignore’ pile and be attuned to the ‘different’ pain.
* Reassess/Rework: Now that you have the ‘ignore’ pile it’s time to reassess those messages and rework them. We’ve acknowledged you can’t STOP them from coming in but you override them through a runner’s coping mechanisms.
1) Visualization- By practicing how you will be running beforehand you condition yourself to stay positive and controlled DURING your running, racing, and workouts.
2) Self-Talk- Mantra’s work well, flip the ‘I can’t keep this pace up’ into something productive like, ‘I am strong’ or ‘I will not let this break me.’
3) Focus on Controllables- When the pain of running becomes more intense hone in on the ‘controllables’ like stride, form, and breathing. Counting steps or breaths acts as a distraction.
4) Goals- Always set goals for your running workouts and races beforehand. Don’t ambiguously go in because without concrete numbers or goals it’s easier to let your brain talk you into just ‘settling’ and giving up when the pain starts.
5) Selective Denial- We come back to runners living in a kind of state of denial. The lies of, ‘I’m only running one more repeat/mile/5-minutes/step’ get us to the next point, where we then lie again.
A runner draws confidence from a lot of places: past workouts, a full season of training, race times, other runners they train with that have faster PR’s, etc. A large part of being mentally tough is being confident that you can WARP the messages coming into your brain and OVERRIDE them to push through the pain.
This confidence is built up the longer you run, the snowball effect. As with all other rules of running it hinges upon consistency, consistently proving you can push through the pain. There are margins for error and just like bad races there will be days where you don’t do a great of a job running and overriding the pain messages as you know you’re capable of.
You get through the bad days, learn where you went wrong, and then take those lessons into your next run.
Let your running be ruled by expertly brain warping that flood of sensory feedback from your body. Don’t let the messages steal your confidence because you CAN run and do a lot more than your body would like you to believe.
1) Anticipating the pain isn’t fearing it; fear takes hold of you and consumes your running confidence. What is a refute you use to keep this anticipation in check? (ie: remember times you’ve pushed through pain, mantra, pre-race hyping yourself up tactic, etc.)
2) Give an example of how you take assessing an incoming message you want to ignore and then reassess/rework it.
3) What are a few of the ways/places you draw confidence as a runner?
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Running is a crazy, paradoxical, numerical-obsessedo, backwards world.
Just when you don’t think you can run another step, you push through five more minutes, then instantly you feel like your legs have transformed into two totally different running entities. You go on for miles.
The first interval for a runner can sometimes feel like the worst. That’s where the nerves are, getting started.
Races are even crazier, poised at the line, in the seconds before the gun is about to CRACK you feel certain if they take any longer to fire it you’ll explode. Then, CRACK, and the whole world slips away.
“Back to those intervals…ya, suckers say the hardest is the first one…plowing through miler number three of five HAS to be more painful,” you think.
You then say, “Legs, don’t worry, this is the last interval we have to so…promise.” You say that after every one. Until you finish. Scr##w honesty.
Funny how a running partner that you train with feels like a war partner. You come to know them so well, read their breathing and stride as well as your own. You become intrinsically linked in the shared quest for your best.
Easy days can feel like the epitome of hypocrisy sometimes.
Out of nowhere getting blessed with one of THOSE days is a special kind of euphoria a runner never forgets.
The good days, the slog runs, the meh ones, the mentally tough workouts you’re proud of, the long runs that you wish never end…all of it. It’s crazy stuff. But it’s runner crazy and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
1) Just before you start a race, what makes you feel confident on the line?
2) Best lie you’ve told yourself/legs to get through a workout?
3) One of THOSE days, how many do you think a runner gets?