Most Popular

A Running Guide for the Overweight Runner

There is a man that runs around my town all of the time carrying himself with no evidence of being tired. You may see him out at the park r...

4.23.2010

The Mental Aspects of Running

The Mental Running Game

I was reading Half of Jess' blog and it got me thinking. She said - "I also love running because it brews discipline".

Now, I've spoken on the connection between running and discipline here before, but wanted to dig a little bit deeper into it. All of what I write as a runner is from my own experience and may not be everyone's experience. As a non-runner, I didn't understand the people that ran everywhere. I had a friend in high school that would run 15 miles to school and sometimes back home after school. He was a running machine. I didn't understand it. I'm getting a better idea now that I am running more - Running creates discipline.

As I was replying to Jess' post, it made me think more about the mental aspect of running and not just the physical doing or the "how to". I believe that my body can do it and the more I do it - the more I confirm that my body can and will produce.

We exercise our bodies with the best form of workouts available. It may be P90X (got it tonight), 30 Day Shred (wife does this), Yoga, Pilates, Bootcamps, Crossfit, Insanity, Dance, Wii Fit, and you know all of the others. We use these forms of exercise to achieve the level of fitness that we approve acceptable for our body. They are mostly for our body only though. Doing the physical workouts is something that I love. I simply enjoy it. It's a developed form of mind though. It's rare that one loves a hard workout without ever having worked out before. What does this have to do with running?

With the gym workouts and dvd's - you have planned routines and you know what to expect. Running, however, is not always as reliable on what to expect. There are obstacles almost every time that I go running that I have to work through.

I like to think of running as the ability to exercise discipline. We do all of these exercises to get our bodies fit, but when we think of running - it's just putting your feet in front of each other right? The physical aspect of running sounds simple and can be simply explained, but running is definitely a mental thing. Many times we fail to be disciplined during the exercises and activities that are dependent on us to utilize follow through.

When you are running, you typically don't have a trainer telling you to pick up the pace. You don't typically have someone standing there making sure that you don't take the short cut. It is you, your mind, and the run. In my opinion - our bodies will do most of what our mind tells it to. You only have yourself to rely on when you are running. You are your best motivator, trainer, and #1 fan.

I know that my legs will get me there, but the question is if my mind will allow it to happen.

We stop ourselves so short of our potential because of the fear of pain, failure, and/or fear of further expectations. Many times we fail to even start because of those things. We are capable of succeeding when we push past the wall of mental restraints that we have built and held up for so long.

As I focus on running, because that is something I enjoy doing - my success is not determined by my time, the race, or personal bests. Success is however determined by whether I pushed past the shallow limits of what other people, society, or my mind tells me that I can't do, be, or overcome.

Running, in my opinion, is far more mental than physical. The running will help make you fit, but how I benefit most from it is that running exercises discipline.




Don't Forget about my Fitness GIVEAWAY. It is quite the prize pack for anyone! Go check it out and ENTER. It is Easy to Enter!

16 comments:

Stronger.Faster. said...

Definately a mind game. It is always amazing to one-up your body with pushing yourself in a run. You said some really great things on here. And by the way I was catching up on your older posts... I used to be a dog lover, but once I started running, the love is no longer there. I have had so many big and scary dogs come running at me while growling.... I have considered pepper spray but I hate carrying something when I run. So, I guess Ill just have to keep barking back ;)

cmoursler said...

how you feel about running is how I used to feel about cycling.
Where I grew up there was this hill called fire tower hill.
I would go 20 miles into a nearby town...and I would hit this hill coming back...almost 30 miles in..it was 3 to 4 miles of long gradual climb with a steep spike at the end of a half mile.
It was a killer hill. Every single time I would think I wouldn't make it, and I did.
loved it.

Kyle Gershman said...

Very elegantly stated. I know when I run and I start to bargain with myself on distances, that I can literally feel my legs tire. If I keep my mental dialog strong and say, this is what you are going to run, period...then I manage to make it to that goal.

Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story said...

Well said and inspiring. After reading, I really want to go for a run, but instead I have to go to work. :(

Rad Runner said...

It definitely is pretty crazy how we discover all this hidden energy that our body has when we run. On the flip side, we also discover just how much it can give, because we notice when our body is telling us to take it easy, I have never been so aware of it till now.

LAF said...

Discipline is a key element in living a healthy life! Awesome post.

Shane said...

In any of the pursuits I pursue, the mental side of things appeals to me. It can also be the side of things I struggle with most. In my opinion any activity that involves building discipline is excellent, because the discipline you build with your running, you can then take that discipline into other areas of your life.

Keep up the great work!

shane

therightfit said...

Great post! I just got back from a run so I can totally relate just now. I ran my furthest ever, without stopping!

Tara said...

I feel a little argh with my running this week. Last Saturday was a personal best in distance but then the following two runs sort of sucked. I think it's because I'm relying on a running program instead of just letting myself run with my music, at my pace and my own discretion.

I think tomorrow I'm just going to walk out my front door and see where my feet take me. No program, no walking intervals, just me and my feet.

Seth said...

@jessie - I've seen some stores that sell some really skinny pouches that you can wear that hide under your shirt - hold pepper spray there I guess. I never thought about barking back at the dog!!

@Chris - fire tower hill just sounds mean!

@Kyle - that's something that I do start to bargain with too...most the time I win but there are those times after you've already ran 3 miles that you just say, okay I'll stop.

@Tonyne - run to work! :)

@Rad Runner - When people are aware of what the body is truly telling us...we can do things we never thought we could have. good point.

@LAF - thanks! discipline is a must!

@Shane - Awesome point.

@Carla - Way to go on the nonstop run! Keep it up!

@Tara - I think sometimes we just have to get out there -- leave the watch at in the car and just run. measure distance afterward and just do it for the fun of it.

Chad said...

I totally agree that running is mostly mental. Once you start getting your basic fitness level up to being able to run, it really does become a mental block to how much/far/fast you can run.

Lindsay said...

Well put! I am a new runner and I have heard that the mental game is the hardest part! I love that you said running exercises discipline.

Frank Dobner said...

I could write a lot on this subject, but I believe that for exercise of any kind, that the "rest stroke" of any exercise is more important than the "power stroke." When I ran (and I ran enough to completely run around the globe at the equator one whole revolution), I always concentrated on relaxing the foot that wasn't on the power stroke, because it needs to be up to the task when it does.
Make sense?

Kat said...

Seth, I couldn't agree more about running and mental discipline. I am about to start week 6 of c25k and am loving the discipline of this process. I am hoping it is going to spill into other areas of my life...:-)

Tara said...

Well Seth, I took your advice and left the perverbial watch (no running program) in the car and ran.

Remember how I told you I couldn't get past 1.5 miles all this week? Remember how I said last Saturday was my personal best in distance (3.22 miles)?

5.55 miles today baby!!!!
Game on!

-J.Darling said...

Isn't it amazing how we underestimate our body's compacity to meet our needs?