“Running head games” or “The psychology of running”

On a quick note… I changed my run plan around for this week.  TJ likes to run his first day back for the week as a normal run and then on Wednesday do a tempo run.  I did this last week, but found that by doing this, my hill run was on Friday and then I only had one day before my long run.  I wonder if that was my issue on Sunday with my hip and legs hurting so much during my long run. So, I’m trying my tempo run this afternoon and see how it goes.  I think having 2 regular days before my long run should help.

I am sure many people have written about the psychology of running, but the more I run, the more I am convinced that 50% of running is in my head.  What I mean is that my mind will tell me to stop, tell me to slow down, tell me my legs are tired, etc.  My mind will tell me, “don’t run today it is too cold, it’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s hot and so on”.  I think the psychology of running is as much of telling your mind to shut up as anything else.  There are times to listen though.  If I am running and my hamstring starts to pull, or my knee hurts, I’ll tell my body to relax and slow down a bit until the pain goes away.  But for the most part, running is a mental activity in which I run best when I do the opposite of what my head is telling me to do.

This is the reason I get home from work and immediately get on my running clothes and go out for my run.  I say hi to my lovely wife and pat the dog and wave at the kids and I’m off.  If anything interrupts that schedule, my chances of making my run for the day goes down dramatically.  Habit is as important in my running as anything else.  In the summer when it is 107 degrees and 90% humidity, I have to run anyway.  In the winter when it is 22 degrees and 20 mph wind, I have to run anyway.  6 days a week 52 weeks a year, on vacation or during a holiday, I cannot give my head an excuse not to run.  If I do it once, then I’ll do it again and before I know it, I’ve stopped running.  Then the momentum is gone and it is twice as hard to get going again.

These are my thoughts on the head games I play with myself to make myself do something I’ve not done in 49 years.  Run.  I’m up to 40 miles a week now.  The half marathon is in less than 3 weeks.  My body has to contol my mind, not the other way around.  I guess what I am talking about is discipline.  Also wisdom to know when to stop or when to ignore what I am feeling.

I love running.

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