March 19, 2015

Mental Stamina and some Tips from Jeff Galloway

We were chosen as Jeff Galloway bloggers and as such, we receive periodic tips to share with our readers.  

With many runners peaking for spring races, mental stamina is an issue that should concern anyone with a goal/PR race in mind.  Running fabulous paces during your speed work sessions and killing that tempo run week after week will not necessarily give you that huge PR you are working so hard to achieve.  The biggest road block for most recreational runners is their mental strength.  I've spent alot of time over the last few months going through my stack of old Runner's World magazines (three years worth) and reread some interesting articles about this very topic.  Most of us spend our time preparing for race day by obsessively checking the weather, planning our fuel/fluid intake and of course our play list of music.  What most of us, myself included, do not do is plan on how we are going to deal with the difficult parts of the race course when periods of doubt start to enter our minds.

Overcoming doubt can come from many different avenues, but the best way is to prepare on each and every run that you do.  What I mean by this is to make each run count and not just mindlessly run those miles.  Each workout can help you gain the mental capacity to push through those barriers on race day that have not happened in your past races.  Instead of deciding that your tempo workout could be cut short by a mile, make sure to finish the last one stronger than you started.  Having a kick at the end of a practice will help your body handle a kick at the end of that important race.  Being the over analyzer that I am, each and every workout is logged by hand into a little notebook.  Looking back, I can gain insight as to what worked before a big race and what did not. Find out if you need a short or long taper.  For me, a little longer rest  period/taper before a big race is important.  Last year, I basically did nothing except a couple short runs the week of my major marathon. This worked for me, so I will use this again. And no, I did not sit eating bon bons getting waited on , although that would have been nice!   Knowing what works for you will give you a much stronger mind on race day, and hopefully the success you have worked for.

Now for some more running/race tips from Jeff Galloway. Take note that the injury section is critical for long term running health! And best of all, I love that a Stanford study shows that runners had 25% less injuries after 20 years of running.  Guess I need to keep running for at least 15 1/2 more years!

From Jeff:
Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to 1) pacing long runs too fast, 2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly, 3)lengthening stride and 4) stretching.

The principle in staying injury free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods-allowing for rebuilding. 

Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I've found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heals.
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  • Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts ? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joints, etc. than non runners as the decades go by.
  • It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.
  • A respected and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared with non runners of the same ag
I've read several of Jeff's books and just sent one to a niece who has started to run. Yay Angela!  
Does anyone have a tip to share on mental strength?

18 comments:

  1. Running is sooo mental for sure!

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    1. Yes, if you can't keep yourself in a positive frame of mind, it is easy to "lose" your race.

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  2. When he says most injuries experienced by runners are due to STRETCHING, does he been by lack of stretching and/or stretching wrong? As you know, I am having some problems and all I have been able to do lately is stretching. I'm doing all the stretches from PT and I am seeing no change.

    I can't wait until the day that I have another race where my goal is to set a PR. Sadly I do not see one of those races in my future this year. It's all about strengthening and coming back strong ( Again) this year. -M

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    1. I think he means stretching too much. One of the things I have done the last few years is improve my core strength. It has helped alot with my running (less slumped over at the end of a hard race). My golf game has also improved with my shoulders and core having more strength.

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  3. I loved these injury tips when I first saw, it was encouraging to know I could still continue to run with certain injuries and not be totally sidelined.

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    1. Yes, there are always things you can do to exercise even if you cannot run.

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  4. Running is definitely a test of both mental strength as well as physical strength. If your head isn't in the game, its hard to be able to push yourself physically.

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    1. I think I read somewhere that it is 50% mental, and it sure seems that way to me at the end of a hard race!

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  5. Great post! Running is definitely mostly mental. I usually have a mantra that gets me through those tough times in the races.

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    1. Having a mantra is a great way to get through the tough parts of a race. I also find that if I am running with someone it is easier or pick off targets to pick up your speed.

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  6. Running is such a mental game. I think that is why yoga has been so beneficial to my running. I've learned that I can push through just about anything (within reason lol)

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    1. I need to add a bit more Yoga into my routine. I get into ruts with cross training

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  7. Yes, it is as much about the brain as it is about the legs.

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    1. Sometimes I think it is more about the brain Abby.

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  8. When I had to go through PT for a work injury, they knew I was trying to get back into running. The PT constantly told me to air on the side of caution when stretching, and pretty much never do it beforehand and instead just warm up gradually. Then she showed the difference between stretching and over stretching which is what a lot do. So this is pretty sound advice from Jeff too!

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    1. I have hear the same thing Kristy. I don't stretch nearly as much as other runners I know. If anyone would have sound advice, it would be Jeff Galloway!

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  9. Hmm, I would be interested to see that Stanford study. Mental strength: I'm a skater, not a runner, so not sure how exactly it applies. But when I'm doing run-throughs of my program I've been told how important it is to continue my run-through to the end even with falls or mis-steps, since that is what I will have to do when I compete. For the most part I try to do that. With running I know you go all out for the distance on your race day and can't do that regularly in your training. My program is only about two minutes long so I can, and need to, do it frequently. But I'm sure there is some aspect where you need to practice in the same way as you plan to do it on race day. BTW, just found your blog today and it's always nice for me to find another older athlete.

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  10. Love, love, love Jeff Galloway. It's one of my dreams to go to one of his running camps at Blue Mountain Beach.

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