What’s going on WaT Audience?
Today, we’ll be expanding on the Distance and Discipline posts.
We’ll be talking about the mental battle, that goes on while racing, and some gold advice a friend gave me back in 2011.
To begin the story, I was about half way through a wrestling practice on a Saturday.
It was miserable work, and it was supposed to be. The coaches were doing a superb job of getting us through some conditioning.
I was miserable and my mind began throwing out doubting thoughts:
I didn’t eat enough calories, and I’m bonking.
I’m dehydrated today, I can’t go on.
I can feel an old injury creeping up.
We’re already all in great shape.
I just don’t feel well.
My shoulder hurts.
And all kinds of similar BS. So, in-between workout cycles, my buddy could tell I was struggling, and told me something that was a complete game changer for my competition mindset…
“We all feel the same as you”
And this really clicked for me, in a big way(Thanks Vince).
They were going through the same routine as I was.
They, too, were having doubtful thoughts eating away at their resolve.
Everyone was in the same boat.
This came in handy later on in Distance Running.
You have to realize.
The other racers are going through the same experience you are.
The heat, wind, fatigue, and metal battle is the same for them as it is for you.
They are often just as tired, and just as ready to quit.
Your experience is not only unique to you. I hate running on windy days.
Feels like twice the effort to move the same distance, and the roaring noise in your ears is annoying.
However, if you are competing, the competition is facing the same challenge. They too, are struggling with the wind.
Now, very rarely will you score a PR on a windy day, or an extreme temperature day.
So, the times will go up, however, winning is easier.
When the weather turns unfavorable, many runners drop out of competition. Or not show up to the starting line altogether.
What’s the point of running, when you won’t hit a good time?
For mental toughness.
And to Win.
So when the going gets tough, remember: Everyone else is feeling the same way.
Now on to part two of this truism.
Why then, do some people look like they are not suffering?
How dare they look calm and collected, while I am miserable.
Well that has a little to do with previous physical conditioning,
And a lot to do with keeping your composure or: Showmanship.
Looking like you’re fresh and just cruising along, when in reality, you are suffering, is a skill developed over time.
It’s a show or strength, a bravado.
It’s a calculated move, to appear strong. You can do a lot to look relaxed.
You cannot fake speaking however. If someone is running alongside you, and wants to chitchat, they are feeling pretty good.
So, just because someone looks like they are unaffected, believe me, they feel the same way you feel.
This is where will power comes in.
It’s really a competition of how much you trust yourself. How much you trust yourself not to get exited and run too fast.
You have to push yourself as hard as possible, without burning out.
And that comes with timing your splits and dialing in the pace before the race.
But there is an amount of pain to endure to perform at that optimum level.
Not joint pain or disabling injury, just body systems slightly deprived of oxygen, and under a ton of stress.
From what I’ve seen, and speaking with other runners, they guy out front – is in the most pain of anyone racing.
Taking the lead too early is risky in its own way, unless they pace of the group is just too slow entirely.
Better to run a negative split, and take the lead later on, after a few over-eager people fade.
You have to trust yourself to be able to maintain the optimal speed, and not burn out by going too fast, or give up, from the pain, slowing down during the later parts of the race.
So, before I go rambling on too long, and people start falling asleep, zoning out, etc, we’ll recap.
#1. Everyone feels as bad as you do. They, too, are fighting the wind, the heat/cold, and the desire to quit.
#2. Just because someone looks good, doesn’t mean they feel good. It’s all part of the game.
#3. Trust yourself to maintain an even pace and not burn out or yield to pain. Know you pace and stick to your plan.
That just about sums it up,
Until next time, and
All the Best.