Un-hijacking a thread

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  r-at-work 14 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #1514

    r-at-work
    Member

    okay… didn’t mean to sorta hijack the thread of introduction by Scattershot…

    and I will try and heed the advise of Zeke for a positive self image…

    and I’ve been waiting till I was sure that I would get a postive response before I put it all out here… even if it’s for people who I may never meet… then I read about the Ice Age race and almost quit reading, but I noticed the ONE thing that is important for me to learn, the thing that seems to allude me… and several people who KNOW me tell me I need to do… get a better attitude, not about running but about MY running…

    it took seven marathons till I even considered myself a runner, so even though I’ve been running since 1991, just last November was the first time I knew the answer to the question “are you a runner”…yep…

    however, I still qualify it… but I’m still improving, still working harder each year, still trying to work for a BQ…

    all that aside… since I realize that I need bolstering on the psychological side of running… I have been lurking on several sites for one that was knowledgeable and not egotistical… makes sense to me that it would be based in the Midwest, I’m originally from Northern Illinois…

    so my queation is how do you improve the self-image… besides not making self disparaging comments… I keep reading about how marathoning is such a “mentally tough” sport but almost all the discussion has to do with how to better physically prepared…

    I know that some of the best (feeling as well as paced)races, notably an 8K and a marathon, that I’ve run I had seen the course before, knew what was coming and was mentally prepared for ‘what came next’…

    the other race that stands out a ‘great’ was a half marathon last fall that I happened to be in really good shape for, got lucky and was next to a coach who verbalized so many good tips to her ‘student’ that I felt the positve results of her ideas… oh yeah… and this past Sunday when I ran with my 16 y.o. on Mothers’ Day and knew that he was there because I was a runner and gave him that direction when he was younger…

    gee my first thread… 😀

    Rita

  • #14589

    Zeke
    Member
    r-at-work wrote:
    but I’m still improving, still working harder each year, still trying to work for a BQ…

    Your 54:12 calculates to a 4:14:21. Women 50-54 “only” need 4:05, so you’re not that far away from your BQ.

    so my queation is how do you improve the self-image… besides not making self disparaging comments… I keep reading about how marathoning is such a “mentally tough” sport but almost all the discussion has to do with how to better physically prepared…

    Yep, first you have to stop with the self-disparaging comments. Stop writing them, then stop thinking them, then change them into positive comments. Don’t compare yourself to 25 year old guys running 100+ mpw. That can get depressing, even for a 34 year old guy. Compare yourself to your peers. Then as you get fitter and faster, compare yourself to the 40-49 year old women.

    I think when people talk about the marathon being mentally tough, a lot of that deals with the mental toughness it takes to put in the training. Hell, if you have a schedule set up and you follow through on 90% of it, you should be ready to go on race day, whether you think you’re mentally tough or not. Don’t get me wrong, confidence is huge. However, again, if you put in the training (get physically prepared) you should have confidence when you toe the line.

    I know that some of the best (feeling as well as paced)races, notably an 8K and a marathon, that I’ve run I had seen the course before, knew what was coming and was mentally prepared for ‘what came next’…

    Knowing the course can be a huge plus.

    the other race that stands out a ‘great’ was a half marathon last fall that I happened to be in really good shape for, got lucky and was next to a coach who verbalized so many good tips to her ‘student’ that I felt the positve results of her ideas…

    Now that you know what the coach told you, try to think of those things yourself. Prior to my marathons I’ll write down my game plan and include pre-race meals, I’ll break the race into sections and write down things I want to think about, affirmations, nutrition, splits, etc. Then I’ll study my notes in the weeks leading up to the race. That way, when the gun goes off, I’m not leaving my thought process to chance.

  • #14590

    Scattershot
    Member

    I’m not sure I’ve wrapped my head around what you’re asking, exactly, but the meat of it is, how to stop being negative?

    If so, there are a couple tactics. There’s a great book out there called “The Mental Game Plan: How to get Psyched for Sport” that details a lot of ways to improve your self-image. Alas, a book is no good if you don’t put it into practice.

    Why is it that you feel you have a negative attitude? How does it manifest itself, for you? What’s the “mentalese” that goes through your mind that determines your attitude is good or bad (surely you’ve experienced times of both, as everyone does).

    As far as the mentally tough vs. physical preparation bit, I feel I’m miles ahead of myself in mental preparation vs. the physical aspect. I wouldn’t say that makes me tough, just that I have a rough approximation of what this is going to call for and am willing to mold my mind into whatever shape it takes to make this a successful experience. In the heat of the run, I find that keeping my mind as clear as possible is helpful. If I’m not thinking anything in particular, I can’t have a negative attitude as attitudes are born from thoughts. That’s the best approach I can take right now because, by nature, I’m a pessimistic person. I never think I measure up and find it difficult to accept praise for anything (on and off the road) because I have a sense of how far I have left to go. Trying to think only positive thoughts hasn’t worked for me, to date, and it’s as clear in my running as it is in any other aspect. The best I can do right now is minimize or eliminate the negative thoughts and just try to enjoy each run for what it is, as opposed to what I want it to be eventually.

    I’m not sure if this is the kind of answer you were looking for or not, my apologies if it isn’t.

  • #14591

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Just a couple of rambling thoughts put together in a rush. I hope they make sense.

    First, Zeke is right on. Don’t compare yourself to others who are out of your league. Focus on yourself, how far you have come, and what you have yet to accomplish. If we all focused on those who are much faster than us, nobody but about 5 runners in the whole world would think much of themselves. Instead, I prefer to remind myself how far I have come and then focus on that “last little bit” (which really does look like a little bit compared to how far I’ve come) to get myself to where I want to go.

    As for the mental game, I think it would be wise to find a few good books. I don’t know any off the top of my head, I was fortunate enough to learn through coaches. Planning and visualization are big. I never go into a goal race without having a plan, along with at least one fallback plan in case things go wrong, and having visualized myself accomplishing my goals multiple times. By the time I line up for the race, I feel like I have already done what I’m setting out to do so I’m very confident in myself. Of course, this can’t replace the physical training but if you don’t have the confidence, you won’t reach your goal.

  • #14592

    r-at-work
    Member

    thanks guys…

    a written plan for the race…what a concept(no joke)… when I went back to graduate school (about ten year after college) I asked my sister (she’s a teacher) for help and gee, she said the same thing… I’ve only been keeping a running log for about two years now after reading an article about “Improving your Race Times” that said “check you log” and I said WHAT LOG!! yikes…

    I’ll check around for the sports psychology book…

    what’s kind tuff for me is that as an “older woman” I am just getting into the realm of sports… I mean, when I was in HS, girls had the option to be cheerleaders or pom-pom girls(maybe it was just the school)… and I was a nerd… well, I did ride horses, swim and play tennis(badly)… but mostly recreational stuff…

    and in the Northern Virginia area I have to say there are a lot of competitve, talented 50+ women so even when I compare myself to THEM I fall fairly short (no pun intended as I am 5’2″)… but the one REALLY positive thing I do have going for me is that I have improved so I guess I’ll keep looking at my 1991 times, heck even my year 2000 times and know I’m getting better…

    race projections… right… I WISH that was all it took to improve my marathon time… but I have yet to have anything close to a negative split in a marathon… both half marathons I’ve run were close to having even times on the miles… but it’s the last 10k of the marathon that always gets me… and I KNOW I’m not alone on that…

    last year I joined an all woman’s running club, did track workouts for the FIRST time in my life 😯 and had a PR at every distance… this year I’ve gone to the personal coach, including in person track work(Ryan you’re right about that), posting my other runs & lots of email correspondence…

    tryng to cover all the bases… guess it’s what we all try to do…

    -Rita

  • #14593

    Runnin Rat
    Member

    Rita,

    I have been running for almost 3 years now, so you have been at this longer than I have, but since I live in a VERY small town here in the west, it has been said that I am the “town runner”. At first I argued with everyone that I was not a runner. I didn’t feel like a runner because I didn’t think I looked like a runner (I was about 20 pounds over weight, couldn’t wear the cute running shorts and shirts, that stuff). Even after I ran my first marathon and people started asking me advice I would give them a negative answer and tell the they were asking the wrong person.

    It wasn’t until someone said “Can’t you take a compliment? Can’t you just say ‘thanks’ or something good?” it was then I seriously adopted my “Attitude is Everything” motto.

    Am I fast, No. Do I ever ‘win’, well, that depends on what you consider winning. I cross the finish line, that is winning to me. Do I place? Rarely. I did once out of 20+ races, and that was a third place. Did I frame that ribbon? You bet! Am I better today than when I ran that race? By a long shot. The biggest question, does running make me happy? YES! Am I a runner? YEP! Do I feel good about who I am? YES! Do I get upset when I see I took 4th place, again, by 15 seconds? Yeah!

    So, if I feel I am being the best person I can be, doing the best I can at all I try to do, I have to be happy with that. Whether it is running, raising my kids, cleaning house, or horse back riding (I don’t have a real job). My attitude determines everything about my life. I can’t compare myself to anyone else, because I will compare my worst traits to someone else’s best. I am great about beating myself up and comparing myself to others 😉 ’bout have that one mastered!

    Anyway, I love the advice Zeke, scattershot, and Ryan gave you. These are some pretty smart cookies. Keep up the good work.

  • #14594

    puffintoad
    Member

    Horsebackriding, that’s how I ended up in AK, as a CHA level III horsemanship instructor. I finally got tired of all the poop, though. 🙄

    Rita,

    I can’t give you any advice that I don’t need to take myself. If you find a way to beat the mental demons, let me know. I do know that you will experience great gains in your running performance if you can learn to run confidently and have high hopes. Nothing weighs a body down like a heavy heart. I wish you the best luck in training, and remember, you are not to be measured by your successes and failures. Hope you have a good time in the meanwhile. If you were closer, we could have a fun time on the trails!

  • #14595

    Zeke
    Member

    About a month ago someone asked about the book Running Within. It’s a mental toughness book by Jerry Lynch. I said it was okay, but that I thought his other book The Total Runner was better. It’s out of print, but you can get a used copy on amazon.com for as little as $.97. For anyone interested in getting a running-specific mental toughness book, this is worth a buck.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0139256601/qid=1084798850/sr=8-4/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i4_xgl14/104-8943758-4770342?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

  • #14596

    r-at-work
    Member

    WOW… I spent five years teaching horsebackriding… some of the most fun I ever had…had to give it up, too addicting… guess running is sorta the same, but at least the equipment is a little bit less expensive…

    still working on this “mental thing” and appreciate the insights from all of you… and better late than never, I at least have started with some coaches all three have slightly different backgrounds, one also coaches HS, one does tri-events and one has NCAA & international experience…

    their view is “success breeds success”… told me not to look at the whole months work outs if it freaks me out… take one day at a time, just go out and do it…lots of suggestions, lots of support…

    I tend to get wound up and then even my husband (he’s coached HS softball) tells me I need a few more miles… and he tell’s me “it’ll come” when we discuss confidence… and he’s told me that if I don’t BQ in the fall he’d love to take a trip to the sunny south (like Florida) in January or February so I could try again… and that I’ll get there eventually and it’ll be that much sweeter for the effort…

    thanks again for the help…

    -Rita

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