Search This Blog

Mind games

This morning's run crossed Narara Creek in Gosford.
(© WoollyMittens)

Even though I had an easy day yesterday, running a relatively flat 10km, I still wasn't looking forward to today's planned 36.5km Round the Bay road loop circling Brisbane Water.  The reasons probably included that I would be doing it solo, and that I'm over-familiar with the course, having clear memories of how hard the last 10km often is.  Of course, I could choose to run somewhere else, to get a change of scenery and a bit more motivation, but then I would feel I was giving in and choosing an easier option.  I often say that it is the sessions you don't like doing that are probably the ones you need.

The Spike Milligan Bridge was also crossed this morning.
(© WoollyMittens)

The tricks I employ to get me through a long tough solo run, will be familiar to many runners.  I start, these days, by carrying an iPod and listening to music, podcasts or the radio.  This helps, just a little, to distract me from thinking about how far I still have to go.  But the main technique to avoid focusing on the distance, is to set intermediate goals.  The Round the Bay course is very roughly an equilateral triangle, and I start at one corner.  The first objective is to complete the first side feeling comfortable.  The second objective is to complete the second side feeling like I have a little left in reserve.  Then comes the hard part.  By this time I'm very fatigued and just want it to be over.  I break up the third side into shorter and shorter sections with a milestone at the end of each - an intersection, top of a hill, or a landmark.  Having them get progressively shorter helps mentally because it takes less time to reach each milestone and I count them down to the finish.

Maitland Bay Road was part of this morning's run.
(© Maksym Kozlenko)

Of course, these mental tricks never really stop me thinking about how far and how long I still have to run, and the closer I get to the end, the more my focus changes to how great it will feel to stop and then walk the very leisurely one kilometre around the park at the finish.  Nothing beats that feeling of relief when I stop running, nor that sense of satisfaction I get as I stroll that warm-down kilometre knowing that I have achieved my goal, made a contribution to my near-term future fitness.......and that will be the last Round the Bay for a month or so because of other running plans.

My time this morning was about six minutes faster (3:18) than last week (3:24), which isn't a lot, but I did feel stronger, and if my right Achilles tendon and knee had behaved themselves, I would have been running faster in the last 12km.

No comments:

Post a Comment