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!
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.
- 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?