Sometimes it's All in Your Head
Yesterday’s Santa to the Sea Half Marathon closed out my 7th week of running including my first 50-mile week in a very long time. These past weeks have been very trying and roller coaster-like. It was interesting to see my fitness level upon my return, which was much better than I had anticipated and I was elated, but then my mental fitness seemed to suffer more and more as the weeks progressed.
I am finding that mental conditioning is almost as important as physical conditioning because it seems like we can simply erase weeks and weeks of very successful training by negativity and lack of confidence. I have felt weak mentally in the last three to four weeks of training and it definitely showed in my post-run reports on DM and took up significant amount of my time, especially the night before and day-of tough runs (at least three per week: track/speed, tempo and long runs).
I noticed this trend right away and I also noticed it was affecting me in every aspect of my life – just plain negativity, stress and all without good reason. Weird. Not exactly sure where all of this came from but it was here and I didn’t like it at all and I immediately began to work on it.
As a suggestion from a friend, I downloaded several self-help/spiritual-type books on my Kindle and began burning through pages and pages of very interesting observation and I tried to incorporate some of those concepts/ideas into my life. I found out after a few tough runs that I had stopped yelling at myself internally – I am notorious for saying, “stop being a pussy Trace,” and replaced it with, “baby you got this.” This sounds so cheesy but it was happening and often. Baby? Where the heck did I get that word? Pretty funny stuff. Anyway, it (it as in the attempt to focus on positive) did seem to help tremendously, although it seemed like the minute something negative happened, I was instantly drawn back into that state from hell and had to crawl back out again.
I am not really writing this to talk about my issues or anything like that, I just feel like I had a breakthrough run yesterday that just reconfirmed my second paragraph. Just the week before I couldn’t get in four miles at a 6:30 pace (my splits were 6:34, 6:48, 6:44 and 6:34) and yet I managed to get in 13.1 miles at a comfortable 6:38 pace. I needed that run, I needed the confirmation that I am coming back with a strong return and that I need to continuously work on being more positive.