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2006-05-19 8:44 PM

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Master
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Subject: Need help Building mental toughness
I am working toward my first tri, it is scheduled for July 16th ½ mile swim, 15.5 mile bike, and 3.1 run I have no fear of the swim I am a bit slow but can breath on either side and already do the distance the bike worries me but I am building the mileage up so Ill be slow 12 to 13 mph but think I can do it. The problem is mental toughness on the run I hate running and although I have don 13 mile before I hate every step. I also want to quit every step I find myself constantly making excuses to stop and walk I walk about 100 yards on my 5k runs. I do not think it is physical as my breathing is back to normal with in just a few minuets of the run It must be mental what can I do to get through this?? My only plan is to just keep doing it and try to shorten the walk by a few steps each time.


2006-05-19 9:03 PM
in reply to: #428793

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
Mental toughness is something that I also struggle with. Like they say, your body is up to the challenge, it's the mind that you have to convince. I find breaking down my swim/bike/run, whatever into smaller parts so that I think about the section rather than the whole. For instance on a run, I might try to just concentrate on making it to the next water station and allow myself to walk through the aid station to get water down. I try to make little rewards, like water or gels, something to look forward to. Sometimes, I have to break it down even further, such as, just make it to the next light pole, then the next mail box, etc. I then try to think about how far I've come rather than how far I have to go. When I find myself getting negative about the weather, or whatever, I try to turn it around by thinking something positive, for instance, a lot of times I'll start to complain to myself that it's too windy out on a bike ride so I try to turn it around by thinking, well, at least it's helping to keep me cool, or I'm out here and getting fit rather than being lazy and sitting on the couch. In a race, it's nice having other racers as rabbits. Look ahead to someone in front of you and try to start slowly picking them off one by one. During workouts, it might help to have a training partner if possible to help push you or get your mind off slogging through a run. I usually train alone when it comes to running, but I train with a Heart Rate Monitor, so I find myself trying to stay in my specified zones so much that I don't think about time or distance. Anyways, all of this is a lot easier said than done, I can be extremely negative during workouts and races and nothing seems to be work to get me out of that funk. You might also look at some long distance sites such as for ultracycling or ultrarunning. When it gets to that level, it does almost become more mental, than physical. When I was training for my 24 hour ride, I did lots of reading in those areas to help overcome mental lows.
2006-05-19 9:08 PM
in reply to: #428793

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Master
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
Thanks for the input I think I’ll sneak out tomorrow night and put some paint dots on the road at 1 mile increments then I can check my time at each mark.
2006-05-19 9:47 PM
in reply to: #428793

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Buttercup
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness

Sounds like you need to reprogram your self-talk (speaking as a reformed running-hater).

  • Stop telling yourself you hate to run. It's doing you no good and, in fact, making your run harder.
  • Start telling yourself that you will learn to love running.
  • Keep your head up when you run; look straight ahead. Keep a good posture.
  • Tell yourself "This will get easier each time."
  • Try this affirmation (thanks to LarDog): As the race gets longer, I get stronger.
  • When you start with the negative talk, don't then heap more negative talk on yourself about the negative talk. Instead, just tell yourself: That's not making the run easier. What helps is telling myself 'this is getting easier.'
  •  Choose your own words, your own self-talk. Just make it helpful, positive, encouraging.
Our minds are very powerful. We translate our beliefs into our actions. If you believe it will get easier, it will get easier. If you believe you will never improve, you will never improve.
2006-05-20 1:04 AM
in reply to: #428816

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness

Renee,

 

Thanks for the advice.  I too have a problem with running...no more negative talk! 

2006-05-20 4:00 AM
in reply to: #428793

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
"The distance between hard and impossible is a thousand miles wide!"
. Yep, it hurts. It is frustrating. It can drive you MENTAL...but it isn't impossible. It's all well within your reach. Keep goin'.


2006-05-20 5:24 AM
in reply to: #428793

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
What fabulous advice in this thread. My first sprint is Monday. I have been in training for 6 months now. Don't be like me, a run hater, and not do it. Now, I absolutely know I haven't put hardly any time into running, and it shows. If I woulda just sucked it up, 30 minutes, 2-3 times/week I wouldn't be kicking myself in the *** right now. My swim times have gone down a whole minute per 100yrds, my biking is strong and I don't wear out, my run: well, let's just call it a walk/jog. Follow the awesome advice on this thread, get out there and RUN. It will do amazing things for your confidence.
2006-05-20 5:36 AM
in reply to: #428869

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
evil lizzie - 2006-05-20 6:24 AM

What fabulous advice in this thread. My first sprint is Monday. I have been in training for 6 months now. Don't be like me, a run hater, and not do it. Now, I absolutely know I haven't put hardly any time into running, and it shows. If I woulda just sucked it up, 30 minutes, 2-3 times/week I wouldn't be kicking myself in the *** right now. My swim times have gone down a whole minute per 100yrds, my biking is strong and I don't wear out, my run: well, let's just call it a walk/jog. Follow the awesome advice on this thread, get out there and RUN. It will do amazing things for your confidence.


Lizzie: You're from Pittsburgh!! YEAH! Where is the tri this weekend? I know the Downtown YMCA (my workplace) is putting on one sometime soon.
2006-05-20 10:47 AM
in reply to: #428793

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Master
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP!


Sorry, that's all I got.
2006-05-20 11:08 AM
in reply to: #428793

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Master
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
Thanks Stupid LOL you are all right I think Stupidnickname comes the closest to the type of motivation I need at least it made me laugh. Tomorrow I will run I will not complain and I will walk less than yesterday.
2006-05-20 11:59 AM
in reply to: #428793

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness

Shut up & run!

works for me. 



2006-05-20 12:22 PM
in reply to: #428793

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness

As you are running along and the negative self talk starts, just think about what you've ALREADY accomplished that day!  Running is my worst of the 3 as well, but when I get really down on myself I remind myself that I have already done a swim and a bike ride.  How lame would it be to stop now?

I'm also with grvfrog - i walk through water stations, as much so that some of the water gets INTO me as anything else, but I use it as a reward - I just keep telling myself it's not far and to keep going and next thing I know I'm there.

2006-05-20 1:49 PM
in reply to: #428793

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Master
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness

few motivational things i do as a weak runner. one repeat the finding nemo mantra just keep swimming but change it to just keep running.

 also i am doing my super-sprint for charity so that gets me through the harder trainign sessions.

 

another motivation is foc us on how much good it is doing you. i had a particularly weather beaten trainign ride today and feel pretty knackered but smiled to myself after i got home as i drove past a fat bastard on my way to asda and just thought - that's never gonna be me.

2006-05-22 9:24 PM
in reply to: #428802

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
Just think the last event for the triathlon is the run.............................you can tell your self positive thoughts........................you are almost done with the race...................don't think negative......................also if running is your weakest area than you need to practice, practice, practice on that area.............................Run with other people...................get a coach....................you can do it...............Karen
2006-05-23 7:10 AM
in reply to: #428793

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
All the advice you have been given so far has been spot on, particularly Renee's. One more thing I would suggest is a training aid like a Tempo Trainer or credit card size metronome. They make a little beep at the tempo you set. It will give you something else to focus on. Also, with my daughter we use a lot of run/walk combos in training. She is a really big girl now, over 5'8" and 150+ pounds with a huge upper body(swimmer). Let's just say she is not built like a runner. The run is the hardest part for her. She does lots of runs were she runs for 2 minutes, then walks an interval. She increases/decreases the run/walk throughout the season. Her run pace has steadily decreased despite her never running more than a mile or so straight in training. She trains for time not distance. Her race this weekend she averaged 8:45/mile over aproximately 2.6 miles. Two years ago at the same race, she was 10/mile. She also engages in lost of "run-hate" talk. But When she is training, she works very hard on re-framing her thinking. No negative talk during training. All bets are off the rest of the time!

Good luck to you. Let us know how it's going.

Francie
2006-05-23 7:54 AM
in reply to: #428793

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
I second (third! fourth!) what has already been said.  Also, check out Mental Training for Triathletes (Velo Press) - good stuff!


2006-05-23 9:32 AM
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
My college track coach gave me some good advice on distance running (I was a jumper and distance running has NEVER come easily for me): stay relaxed and let gravity do as much as the work as possible.
What this means is that within your stride, maintain good posture with your head up and when each leg is "back", swing your foot forward from the knee each time rather than concentrating on a "push off". When your foot is "forward" or "striking", that's when you grab the earth and throw it behind you (coach's words). Does this make sense? It won't work if you are running uphill, but it helped me to settle into the run better, and find that comfortable pace.
2006-05-23 1:28 PM
in reply to: #428793

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
CBarnes, thank you for posting your question. I, for one, will use the postings on this particular thread to get through my run this evening! So much good advice/suggestions/motivation!

2006-05-23 1:41 PM
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Runner
Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
I focus on something else. Sometimes it's my breathing, focus on keeping it regulated. Sometimes it's on songs running through my head (stupid cadences.....). During a race I focus on the person in front of me, until I catch them. Sometimes, I've focused on a race while I was training, seeing myself going faster and faster, planning out how I'll run it, etc. I had some of my best training runs while I was focused on beating an opponent (that worked more when I was in wrestling). Anything to get the blood flowing and the dander up.

Focus on anything but the fact that your legs hurt, your lungs hurt, and all you wanna do is quit. If you do, you will.
2006-05-23 1:53 PM
in reply to: #428793

Master
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
It helps me when I run or bike with other people especially those faster than me.

They make me work harder and enjoy it more.
2006-05-23 1:58 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
One thing that always helps me...

I find a nice butt that is going a little quicker than I am and I try and keep up. Most of the time it works well.

Mike


2006-05-23 2:02 PM
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
If you have any questions about running..........I would be happy to help you..................I need mental toughness on my swimming......................I am trying to apply my own advice I have given you...................I am determined to keep practicing, practicing.......................I think another thing with this is it is only going to take time.................. Karen
2006-05-23 2:05 PM
in reply to: #431747

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
- Count your steps, passes the time
- Sing a song
- Think about a project and how you want to organize/run it

Basically focus on anything OTHER than running. Just enjoy it and watch the world go by.
2006-05-23 2:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness
One thought about mental toughness... it is not something that you will always have, like a posession. It is certainly a skill that you can work on, and the advice here is great. But, be aware that some days will be better than others.

In my first ironman, I finished through strength of will alone. Long story (details in my race reports), but to this day, I am still amazed at what I was able to overcome and finish.

Second one, not so much. Had a great swim and bike, hit a minor stomach issue, and walked almost half of the marathon. That day, I was a mental weenie.

Why the difference? I don't know. I've since had better races, and I think my failed attitude in my second race has actually helped me since then - I think I learned how/when my mental game was my limiter.

Take what the day gives you. Race day will bring its own surprises, and you can just prepare as best you can. The important piece is in getting to a point where you want to train, rather than have to train.


BTW, walking is ok, IF it is part of your strategy. I walk every aid station, but limit that to 10 seconds. Gives me a chance to breathe, and time to drink without coughing all over myself. Plus, it breaks down the race into 1-mile segments. That way, I can just focus on running the next mile. ie, "Heck, ANYONE can run a mile, so get hopping..."

Good luck!
2006-05-23 2:47 PM
in reply to: #428847

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Subject: RE: Need help Building mental toughness

To be a runner, you have to run. We all run to the best of our own ability. There is always going to be someone faster and slower than you...  if not today, wait a day. <---the words of my dear friend and training partner...

So when I'm running... I just keep thinking... to be a runner, you have to run... and here I am, running... running... running...I must be a runner.

No negative self talk, ever. We do our best. And that's all we can ask for!

 

Whizzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

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