Tuesday, January 08, 2008


In the morning, running on the treadmill in the evening always seems like a good idea. However, once evening rolls around, it’s very difficult to make it happen. I did manage to run an easy 5 miles last night. I was hoping to get in a few more miles, but I also wanted to make it a recovery day – given my back to back stronger paced runs over the weekend. Plus, I figured skiing for 45 minutes in the morning was a nice supplement to my routine. Finally, I wanted to get up early this morning for a medium-long run, so I figured I’d better get at least 7 hours of sleep.

When 4:20 rolled around this morning, I really wanted to reset my alarm. However, with last night’s 5 miles I didn’t want to slack off another day. So I dragged my ass out of bed for a 15 mile run. I was kind of dragging towards the end of this run. After I finished, it occurred to me that it could have had something to do with the 5 miles I’d run just 8 hours before.

While I try to run my mid-week medium-long run on Wednesday, I moved it to today in order to take advantage of the nice warm weather. Plus, I’m thinking about adding in another similar run this Thursday.

I think my friend Eric is turning into my conscience. A month or so ago we went for a run together and he asked about my core training. I hadn’t been doing any at the time, but have since added it to my routine. Last week he emailed me asking what I was doing to improve my mental toughness during races. I’ve written a lot on this topic in the past, as it’s something I find very intriguing – even though it’s hard to document, quantify, track, analyze, etc.

I told Eric that right now I’m just basically worrying about my fitness. To me, the mental side of the sport is sort of like the chicken and the egg; am I running well because I’m mentally strong or am I mentally strong because I’m running well? Personally, I need to get in the fitness and start seeing some results and then the confidence seems to grow from that. If training is lackluster and I’m unmotivated, it doesn’t seem to make sense to worry about the mental side of the sport. Maybe others would argue that that’s the perfect time to worry about it.

Then Eric asked if I could work on mental toughness while getting fit? For example, mind focusing techniques, visualization techniques, inspirational techniques, relaxation techniques, etc. While I totally agree with that, there are only so many hours in the day. Mental training is like strength training, nutrition, stretching, and any other ancillary activity - I have to pick and choose how I incorporate them into my overall training.

Quote of the day;

“The wonderful thing about athletic achievement is that it is finite. There is no ambiguity. You did it and no one can ever take that away from you.” – Sara Mae Berman


Kel said...

Mental training is also like physical training in that the skills have to be practiced in order to be mastered ;)

Gregg said...

4:20! Ouch, that's early... I will be close to that awakening hour soon but while I am not running that kind of mid week mileage I will savor the extra 1/2 hour of sleep. Keep up the good work, I think you are on to something and good things are to come.

Chad said...

Kel, I understand because that's what "they" tell us. But really how many people practice mental training? And I always find it interesting that given the importance of mental training, we can only find an article on the topic in Runners World or Running Times every other year or so.

Gregg, yeah it's early, but if I get to bed at 9, that's still over 7 hours of sleep. Plus, it makes 4:50 on the other days seem like sleeping in.