“Fit” – In the Frame of Mind
Fitness feels so good, as does a little extra time and relaxation. It has been a fairly moderate year in terms of training. The lenient training spirit started because I had been going hard for a while and was due for a bit of downtime. As our young boys get involved in their own interests and activities, the challenge of scheduling a lot of miles was taken a toll. Along the way we also had a family related circumstance that put training on the back-burner for a few months. More recently I decided to dabble with a creative new workout schedule Coach Matt Ebersole put together for me.
Rather quickly I have found myself craving more miles, hard workouts, and testing my limits. It’s been rejuvenating! As my fitness quickly progresses I’m reminded of the mental games I often play that support regaining my competitive fitness. I’m re-appreciating how getting “fit” is really a frame-of-mind.
* Finish Before I Start. Ever look out the window at pouring rain, blazing heat, snow, or even a check of back on a busy calendar and feel tempted not to start a workout at all? We have all had those days. What gets me out the door and running is focusing on how I will feel after the workout or run is complete. Rarely have I said it wouldn’t be worth it.
* Before But Not During. Reminding myself how great a completed workout feels before starting can work wonders, but quite the opposite is true for me during the actual run. If I think about how I will feel at the end of a run in the midst of a run, I tend to think of how I would rather just have the run be over. Slothful thoughts try to dominate my fit-focused mindset. Instead, I try to stay in the moment. I think more so about each minute, interval, or mile.
* Double Up. No matter the goal distance to cover, starting a run by counting off each mile with how many miles to go somehow makes the run or workout feel longer. There are a lot of different games I will play in breaking down the miles of a run. One of my favorite strategies is to run out-and-back routes. Each time my watch rings the sound of a completed mile for the first half of the run I count the mile as two. I have to get back somehow, right? When I hit the halfway point I switch to a countdown of miles or think about the sites I will pass on my return. It somehow makes the run go by faster.
* Slow miles better than no miles. Tight calves, heavy legs, even pushing a little one in a jogging stroller can feel like more work than it’s worth. Thoughts of cutting a run short can take over when a workout isn’t feeling great. I know I can’t fool myself. More often than not, slow miles are far more worth it than no miles. I will keep reminding myself of this on the days with exaggerated effort. It’s worth it to me to slow the pace enough as to not feel like I’m straining. This way I’m not creating what could lead to a problem such as injury, yet I still can take advantage of the blood flow, loosening muscles, and a nice mind clearing workout.
These great little tricks combined with accumulating fitness gains make the fitness progression so much fun. The miles are building, splits are falling, and I’m excited for what future racing will bring. The Monumental Marathon is back on the calendar in just over 3 short weeks!