Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mental Strength - Do You Have It?

Today's run was all about mental strength. I had 5 miles on the schedule so I figured I'd make them hill repeats (I mean, if you're gonna go, you might as well go big, right?!). We have a pretty decently sized hill about a mile from our house (for those of you who ran Ragnar SoCal this year, you trucked up it during leg 16 {I think}). Running to the hill is hilly, then the hill is about a quarter mile long, so I run it 6 times (meaning I get another 3 miles of hills) and finish by running more hills back to the house.

Elevation chart from today's run (about 900 feet of elevation gain in the 5 miles)

Normally my goal with hill repeats is NOT speed... I know I will always run hills slower than I run flats, so I actually don't even look at my watch during hill runs. What I DO focus on is strength. I want to run hills strong, no matter my pace.


Stopping and taking a breather is easy, but I do my darnedest to make sure I keep trucking. Today, during my last repeat, I literally tried to stop my watch at least three times. It would have been so easy to hit pause and take a brief break (I mean, who would have known, really?!), but with my goal race being 10 days away (holy crap, that just got real!), I knew it would not benefit me to do such.

These shoes were made for RUNNING and that's just what they'll do!

I will be the first to confess that my mental game is where I suffer. Whether it's because I don't think I can do it, because I don't want to push myself hard enough to see if I can do it, because I really don't want to lose my love for running - whatever the case it is so easy for me to write myself off and check out when the going gets tough.


For example, I could go into a race with a goal in mind and then have a friend ask me to run a 'fun run' with them and I will throw any goals I had out the window in a nano-second. Sure, maybe you think that is because I care about my friends (which, believe me, I do), but it very well also might be because I have a hard time believing in myself, believing that I can push through pain, believing that the outcome is worth it, believing that I am worth it.

But, today, I prevailed. The time on my Garmin may not have been impressive, but every time that I wanted to give up and give in, I told myself that I could do it... And guess what?! I DID!

Sometimes you've just gotta believe in yourself

If you have been following Kelly Roberts' #BQorBust journey, then you know that her mantra lately has been "No Regrets". When the run got rough (and I don't mean like it physically hurt... sure, it was physically tiring, but I try to do a good job about listening to my body and although I would have appreciated a break I knew my body didn't NEED one), I told myself 'You could throw out a ton of excuses - the weather, bad fueling, crazy humidity, tired legs, etc, but in the end you would regret not pushing yourself harder. NO REGRETS.'

Here's to hoping the rain helps with the humidity... 

Now, mental strength may not always be my forte, but today I had a bit of an internal battle and I am proud to say I came out victorious. Every day and every battle may not end in my favor, but I need to celebrate the ones that do!


Is mental strength a strength or struggle for you?


Unknown said...

Mental strength has always been my toughest barrier too. I know I'm capable of more but when it hurts I give up too easily.
I work with a lot of mantras to help me get through the tough stuff.

Unknown said...

Mental strength is huge! I've been learning a lot about sports psychology lately and find it sooo interesting. Way to push through those hills!