Training your mind is as important as training your body, having strong robust mind will help you get through those difficult workouts.
Here is Tip No.1 on Training the mind. Think while you run, be conscious of every stride, every breath and every movement, feel your run, take in all the sounds and smells, concentrate and focus on your body, on how it is moving and reacting to the environment around you.
Tip No 2 – Don’t hate on the long arduous track workouts, the loopetyloop, around and around the track workouts train the mind to manage the hardest parts of your race. Hanging in there is the name of the game.
Tip No 3 – Set a goal, without having something to aim for your brain does not know why the work is being done, once you set a goal distance or time your brain then is prepared for doing the hard work because it understands what it’s gonna take.
Tip No 4 – Use a training log for two purposes, 1) Schedule your training, your brain accepts the hard work much easier if it is prepared for it and you are much more likely to avoid over training or under training if you follow a schedule. 2) Log your training when you are done, this way you can see what you have done and be motivated to keep working hard especially when you see weekly or monthly improvements.
Tip No 5 – Learn to train on our own, most of the time when you race you are alone, you may have 100s of people around you but you are running on your own. Now this takes some explaining, I am talking about your quality training sessions which includes track work, tempo work, hill and strength. When you are doing these sessions you should be focused and concentrate and almost withdraw into yourself, you may have lots of your team training around you but you are on your own. This teaches your brain to always be focused and concentrate so when you race this is second nature so that you run your own race and not someone else’s. Your social long easy runs and recovery runs are great for group running and that’s why they are done at conversation pace.
Tip No 6 – Don’t be afraid of disappointment. Keep working hard towards your goals pushing through the good workouts and the disappointing ones. Your brain will always be more willing to push harder if it knows that you will be ok even if your training does not go well.
Tip No 7 – Visualize a positive outcome, not only on your race days but also on training days. Picture yourself cruising through your training or race feeling strong and being able to complete the workout feeling accomplished. Just like having a schedule prepares your brain for the workout, visualizing tells your brain what you expect from the workout and that you are expecting to crush it.
Tip No 8 – This one goes together with tip 2 and tip 7. Don’t put yourself down, and let me just say this is one I have to work on every day. My most common comment is “I am bad on hills” and that’s just one. What ever it may be, stick to staying positive, there is the saying “Whether you can or whether you cant… You are right” and this is right on the spot. Whatever aspect of your running that you struggle with, change your mindset and be positive about in and just by doing that you will do better and be better.
Tip No 9 – Just like your life has a rhythm so should your runs, every one of them, whether fast or slow. Have a mantra for your runs, whether it be your feet hitting the ground or your breathing or a beat in your head, your brain will struggle less with your runs if they feel more comfortable and in rhythm.
Tip No 10 – Come to terms with the aspect of rest and recovery. There is no improvement without rest but your running mind thinks if you rest you will lose fitness, in fact rest and recovery in the right places are vital to your fitness gains. So teach your brain that rest is beneficial and is necessary.
Tip No 11 – DON’T GIVE UP! No matter how hard your training or race is, finish it! Push yourself to work through your session when your mind says you have had enough. Three tips to help build mental toughness during training, 1) Accelerate at points in your run, 2) Finish strong, always run through the finish line strong and lastly, 3) do the long workouts, one of their purposes is to build mental toughness.
Tip No 12 – We have enough challenges for our mind without having to listen to someone else sowing doubt in our minds, so today’s tip…. Don’t listen to what other people are saying, staying positive is a huge challenge with the hard training that you put in so you don’t need any negative input. Stay positive, keep training hard, listen to your coach and don’t listen to the naysayers.
Tip No 13 – Believe in yourself, whether you are a beginner runner or a seasoned runner go out on each run expecting to survive and expecting to improve. Don’t limit yourself, you are always capable of more than you think you are!
Tip No 14 – Break those bad habits! We all have them, bad habits that decrease the efficiency of our running, cause unnecessary amounts of energy to be spent and incorrect muscle use for certain movements. So first find out what they are, if and why they are counter productive and workout a way to create a better habit that is better for your running economy. Do you want to learn more about this? Come and visit us on Mondays at the Irene Oval for Form Training – Click here for a map
Tip No 15 – Don’t take short cuts! Believe it or not, it is the brains normal function to find the easiest way to do anything. So when you do your strength exercises form may be incorrect because your brain has found an easier way for your body to perform the exercise, when you run a mile repeat, your brain tells your body to slack off a bit to reserve energy for the last lap, these are just two examples and there are many more so when you think there is a shortcut in the mix, forget it, work at keeping form and work at training consistently in all your sessions.
Tip No 16 – Don’t Panic! Whether you get sick or injured the runners brain automatically thinks up the worst case scenario, maybe it’s just a cold or even a little niggle. Don’t stress because stress releases damaging hormones that can make the problems worse by weakening your immune system further. It’s better to assess the situation calmly, rest if needed and stay positive.
Tip No 17 – A lot has been said in these tips about resting the body but lets remember the huge amount of energy it takes to stay mentally adept, especially during the hi quality sessions. Every rest and recovery period needs to have mental rest built into it, mental fatigue can hamper your progress just as much as physical fatigue. Know why you are resting and come to terms that its important and enjoy every second, minute, hour or day of rest.
Tip No 18 – Understand every facet of your training. Know the purpose of your workouts, how they are designed to benefit you, why the recoveries and paces are important. Your brain will better handle your workout if it knows why you are doing it and you will be better motivated to do your training knowing that your performances will improve. Ask your coach why you have certain workouts in your training and how they will help you improve.
Tip No 19 – Celebrate your mental victories. Your training is a battle fought on two fronts, there is the physical battle and then the mental battle, this one we usually only give attention to when we fail. So why not in future celebrate the mental wins and give them the positive attention they deserve. You may have got a PB but your strong mind had just as much a part to play. Give your mind the kudos it deserves.
Tip No 20 – We come to the end of our tips on training mind and the last piece of advice I would like to share with you is….. Be patient, new habits are built over time and it’s even harder to break the old bad habits. Don’t try fix it all at once, tackle one obstacle at a time and perfect it before you move onto the next one. Training the mind is a process and takes months and years, so be patient and keep working at it. Now that we are finished with training your mind we move to training your butt…