The Running Mindset – How to fortify your mind to crush your goals!
Getting Past the Fear of Running Long Distances
Getting past the fear of running 13.1 miles is one of the biggest hurdles of completing a half marathon. To new runners, especially new long-distance runners, anything above 3.1 (5K) seems so far. By taking the correct first steps to long-distance running a new runner can avoid injury and quitting before the long-distance journey begins. The long-run journey begins in the mind first and then the body. A new runner must adopt, at a minimum, a running mindset. If a runner starts off running and thinking These questions pop up into your head:
- How will I not get bored?
- How in the world will I be able to run that far?
- Can my body run that far?
- What if I try to run that far and someone sees me fail?
- What if I get injured running further than 3.1 miles?
In order to quell some of these questions and take the edge off of becoming anxious about running before you should, we need to take a look at the running mindset. I’m going to let you in on a big secret that helped me get past my fear of having to run 13.1 miles. Most first-time runners don’t run the entire 13.1 miles. Wow, what a secret. It’s true. The super athletes and other runners trying to beat their personal best records might very well run the entire race. I’ve completed 11 half marathons and one full marathon. Most runners during those races walked through the water aid stations along the course. Once I realized that you don’t have to run the entire distance, the fear of running a half marathon vanished, instantly. My mind had found a chink in the armor.
Exploiting a run/walk method to complete your long-runs
After exploiting the weakness of the 13.1 half marathon beast, my mindset changed forever on long-distance running. This same approach allowed me to complete a marathon as well. Past running experience isn’t a requirement. I was able to complete three half marathons and one full marathon over the course of a year. I began in May 2016 and completed my third half marathon on April 22, 2017. No prior long-distance running experience whatsoever.
Running a 5K or a 10K can be accomplished with little or no training at all. If your goal is to run or walk/run a half marathon, then you must tell yourself that you are a runner. You are no longer running for the sake of exercise. You are running to train your body to complete your first half marathon.
Believing in yourself
Different nutrition guides, shoe strategies, running miles per week, etc. Among all these differences, there is one common thing agreed upon by almost all runners – You have to believe in yourself and believe that you are a runner. Without this firmly ingrained in your head, you won’t make it past mile nine, and you won’t make it to the finish line. I’m not telling you this to discourage you. I’m telling you this to prepare you for the mental battle of running. One week at a time, one day at a time, one mile at a time, and one step at a time will get you to the half marathon finish line.
I hope that this encourages you to finish your first half marathon no matter what age you begin at. If I can do it, so can you.
Your limiting beliefs will hold you back from achieving a running mindset
Most people have the ability (unless medically incapacitated) to complete a 5K. When we start stretching ourselves beyond the 5K distance, those questions whether consciously or unconsciously start taking root in your head. “I’ve never run beyond 3 miles, can I run a marathon let alone a half marathon?” When we tell ourselves we “can’t” do something then you’ve already lost the mental battle waged between stepping out of your comfort zone and staying nice and cozy in your comfort zone. The only way we grow as individuals is to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Kind of like when mama birds decide that her younglings need to learn to fly. She nudges them out of the nest when they have the ability to fly.
Training with a coach or running partner helps you both solidify a running mindset
A running coach has already done his fair share of running and racing (at least their supposed to). The coach has already ingrained in their head the blueprint for running. They have developed a running mindset that they teach through instructions, books, guides, and groups. It’s important to keep a good running habit. Coaches and running partners can help you stay motivated to go running as well as helping you keep accountable to go run. Another great place to look for like-minded runners is a running club. If you’re lucky enough, your city will have a running club. Most running clubs will offer free training and help pair you with someone that runs the same pace as you. No matter what your goals are as a runner, in order to remain a runner, the obvious is true – you have to keep running.
Unfortunately, just developing a running mindset alone won’t make you a runner
You’ve put in due diligence you’ve read every blog post on running. You know what shoes to buy, what gear you need, and you identify yourself as a runner. You’ve got everything checked off your list now it’s time to physically go running. These questions start to cloud your mind:
Where do I start?
How much do I need to run?
Do I need a running club?
How many miles a week do I run?
What race do I want to partake in?
Do I need a running partner?
Do I need a running coach?
If you’re having trouble motivating your self to go out and run, read this article I wrote about 5 ways to trick your mind into running.
Next, I recommend reading 5K Fury, which introduces you to a walk/run technique and gives you a 9-week training schedule. 5K Fury can get you from non-runner to running a 5k in 9 weeks.
|Scott is a published author and RRCA certified running coach. He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 11th half marathon race.|
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