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July 2008

Take It and Run Thursday: Look Back, Look Ahead

Take_it_and_run_thursday_2 Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday!  It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

Today's theme is ....Look Back, Look Ahead.  With over half the year behind us but about half ahead of us, it's a great time to look back at the goals we set for yourselves in the middle of winter and check in with our progress.   Are your goals still right for you this year?  Anything you would change?  What have you accomplished?  What have you learned along the way?  Use this chance to celebrate, to share what you have learned or simply check in with yourself.   Share your "a-ha's" with us!

Next weeks theme is .... Your Six Word Running Memoir.  Completely inspired by a recent post by PigTails Flying, this one will give your mind something to chew on for all your runs over the next week.   Write your running memoir in exactly six words.   PigTails is so good at this that she challenged others to write 6 word race reports (wouldn't our family/friends love that) and even did a few for elite runners.   So if you need inspiration, stop over and check out her post.   On the post, she included this video of Six Word Memoirs from others - it will get you thinking.

Don't Forget To See UltraMarathon Man Tonight

Tonight is the special showing of UltraMarathon ManDean_pic_2

It is the movie of Dean Karnazes journey to run 50 marathons in 50 states and 50 days.   I am a huge Dean fan and love running movies so I am very excited to see this tonight.

The limited showing is at 7:30 p.m. tonight! 

Half Way There

It was interesting to go back and read my post from January 30, 2008 that outlined my running plans and goals for this year.    It's amazing how much has changed but yet how much has remained the same.   I can remember writing the words and feeling the feelings, but now looking back I am amazed how spot on I was with my direction.   It also made me appreciate blogging even more.  Without a blog, would have I written this stuff down anywhere?

In January I was debating whether I should make the plunge back to the marathon (remember the Marathon movie was out in January) or maybe spend my running time getting faster.   I ditched both ideas and decided to continue to run for fun and focus on fitting in as many of my favorite races as possible.  For the second year in a row I have banned use of watches and any other gadgets that tell time.  I have continued to run by how it feels.  I don't think I have gained or lost time in the process.   And the upside, I have really enjoyed my runs and my favorite races.

I also set three more goals for myself and after my quick check in I find that I am about half way there.

I set a goal to be a stronger runner and put this hip/back injury to rest.   The good news is that I don't have the pain I had last year.  The bad news is that it still isn't fully recovered.  It slides, pops and cracks all the time which tells me it needs to be stronger and more flexible.  And what is stopping me?  ME.   I just need more discipline to be more consistent with stretching and strengthening.  It's not hard - just tedious and the yet one more thing to plan for.

Interesting twist on this goal was that I have also been working toward the ability to do one measly chin-up in 2008.   I found a great plan and am committed but progress has been slow. My work towards a "getting stronger" goal has been redirected to a new goal of doing 100 pushups and 100 situps 5 days a week.   I am at 60 right now and feeling good about making it to 100 in August.   This new goal was inspired by Steve Spiers "100 pushup challenge" - and I love it!  Why did I put off pushups for so long?

I also set a goal to run two new races.   I added in a phrase - "not in Iowa".  I was a crazy woman when I wrote that phrase.   I barely get outside of my commute route to work and the grocery store - why did I think I would find time to run a race outside of the state? I did squeeze in Bix last weekend which is right on the border of Iowa and Illinios - so it will have to be good enough.  I am going to try to add a new race this fall in Iowa but, if anyone has a race that is a must do, can't miss - I am all ears!

And last but not least, my last goal was to get two runners started in running.   I had no idea at the time that one of these runners would be my 8 year old son Tucker.  He recently completed a 2 mile run and has a 5K picked out in September.  It is very fun to walk/run with him!  On the flip side, I didn't anticipate the extra planning and scheduling needed to make sure both of us get our miles in.

But I am still one runner short for my goal.    I know that sometimes it is just Des_moines_marathon_logo committing to an event which can boost your running to a new level.  I want to be the stepping stone or give a little boost to a runner ready to move to a new distance.

If you have always wanted to do a marathon or half marathon and would like to try your first one in Des Moines in October - drop off a comment below.   I will be happy to help you with your training for the next 11 weeks (virtually if you aren't from the Des Moines area), run with you for the race (if you run as slow as me :}) or find a runner who runs your goal pace and......pay for your entry fee.    I have FREE Des Moines Marathon entry fee for some lucky person who is courageous enough to take on their first half or full marathon!

I love the half marathon and really enjoy the Des Moines Marathon event!   I think everyone should try it at least once.  You won't believe all the fun you have been missing.

And if by chance there is more than one person who thinks this is just the opportunity they have been waiting for - I will choose a name from a hat.   

Related posts:

Mid-Year Running Check Up

Therapist_couch_2This week at Take It and Run Thursday we’re doing a mid-year check-in—taking a look back and a look ahead in terms of how our running is going. 

To keep it simple, I just interviewed myself with a couple questions.

So, Tom, what’s going well?

  • Cross training is going great!  I come from a stubbron tradition of not taking time to cross train—I mean for years after I knew better.  Now, you couldn’t talk me out of it.  I’m following Matt Fitzgerald’s guide and have been feeling the leg, core, and upper body strength supplementing my running.  Am trying to get permission to publish the exercises on Runners' Lounge.  In the meantime, if you want a description of a great cross training routine, contact me.
  • Matt_fitzgerald_cross_training I’m getting in the mileage and types of running I prefer.  After months of inconsistency, the smooth, floating feeling of running is returning on most days.
  • While I prefer morning running, my schedule requires running occasionally in the afternoons and evenings.  As a result, I’m adapting well to the heat, which could in turn explain the increased beer consumption, which in turn explains the weight gain.  Hmmm.
  • No injuries.
  • I conquered chronic muscle soreness from a few months back with new shoes, starting the cross training, and a visit to the PT.

What’s not going well?

  • My excess weight is not coming off well.  It’s coming off a bit, but sooooo slow.  Still, I’m optimistic.  I can’t control my age, natural talent, the weather, etc.  But fortunately, what I put in my mouth is one of the few factors I have total control over.  So I’m determined to shed those pounds between now and race day.  Please tell me I’m not alone.  Is anyone else far off their goal weight for their upcoming races?

What are you excited about?

  • I’m still thrilled to get out and hit the streets and neighborhoods each day.  With 10+ weeks before the Chicago Marathon, every day with some form of running is a good day.
  • Getting more sleep.  Gardening, work projects, and basement fix up from June’s flooding are still putting me through the grind.  So maybe catching a few more Z’s will boost some energy.
  • Meeting more Loungers at the Chicago Marathon this year.

As runners, we regularly seem to reflect on our running.  But deliberately taking stock of your running progress is eye-opening.  Go ahead, take a look at your fitness goals, your race goals, your running enjoyment.  Whatever works for you!

Hope everyone takes time to look back and look ahead.

Therapists couch on Google Images

Motivation For Your Monday: ExtraOrdinary Runner Award for July

Need a little kickstart to your running this week?   Take a few minutes to read Mel's story.

Mel (aka: m0mmymel) is the winner of our July ExtraOrdinary Runner of the Month Award.  In July, she took a few minutes to tell us her story of how as a single mom she came back from brain surgery for seizures, quit smoking and started running.   And after just a year, she has now done many races, including her first half marathon.    But my short summary doesn't do it justice, so click here and read it for yourself.

And as our winner, she receives a $100 gift certificate to OnLineShoes.com.   OnLineShoes.com continues to be a great partner of the Lounge.   They have a great selection and at fabulous prices.  If you haven't stopped by to pick up a pair of shoes, stop by today.

The theme for this week in the Lounge is Look Back, Look Ahead.  As you look at what you have accomplished so far this year, don't forget to add your great stories to the Inspirational Story section.   We built the section to be THE "library" or archive for Ordinary Runners stories.   No story is too big or too small.   Please take a minute to read the great stories and then add your own on:

In addition to adding some inspiration for other runners, you become eligible to win a pair of shoes from OnLineShoes.com.   And what runner can't use a new pair of shoes?

If you still need a nudge to keep you running this week, check out the great posts from last week's Take It and Run Thursday.  Each week, many Loungers stop by and contribute great articles for our topics.  But last week ... WOW!   They are over the top great!   The topic last week was "Overcoming the Tough Stuff" and each contributor took the time to talk about what is hard about their running and how they overcome it.  The tips are valuable, but I also walked away after reading them feeling very inspired.  It was comforting to know that running isn't easy all the time for other runners either.

And congrats to In Motion and BobAllen for being the winners of our drawing from TIART for an autographed book from Amby Burfoot and a Runners' Lounge Tshirt.

Wishing you great runs this week!

Wow! BIX Rocks!

Img_0447It was CoffeeBetsy's post a few weeks back that said something like, "So, Internet, you guys  probably have hometown races that you really like running. But I can confidently say, mine kicks the most heiney-butt".   

You know what?  She is right!Img_0458

Tom and I had the pleasure of running the Bix7 race on Saturday and  it was awesome.  It was an absolutely amazing experience!  As you would expect, the race for 17,000 runners was very well organized.  Everything from the expo to the staging area to the plentiful water and well marked course.  But on top of those things, there was a band almost every block and spectators cheering on every inch of the seven mile course.  The support of the community was amazing!  Neighborhoods banded together to cheer, tailgated, sported signs, set up sprinklers and hoses and handed out lots of ice. 

It was 17,000 of some of the happiest runners on earth.  Each step was a nonstop celebration of running!

Bix7_course The course itself was as hard it is looked on paper.  The first hill Img_0452 was straight up - but that wasn't the killer.  The first real killer came at about mile 2.5 with a sharp incline.  The runners all took on the same lean forward, pump arms, "I can't believe I am walking up this hill" pose.   But the course really tests the depth of your running character at about the halfway point until just about 5 1/2 miles.  It is a long slow uphill run.   But Img_0454just so you don't leave the race with a bad taste, you end the race with a lovely sprint down the big hill you started on.  You can't help but finish fast.   

And once you finish, you are in for a treat.  The post Img_0453race party is unlike any I have ever seen before.  We stayed for almost two hours and when we left, it seemed to be just warming up.   The runners were there to celebrate and enjoy!  And they had all the makings for a great party! 

They had beer, sure.  But also had treats from Hostess - tables of twinkieImg_0463s and cupcakes.  And thousands of bags of chips and snack crackers.   And I can't forgetImg_0439 the boxes  and boxes of minature candy bars, or tables of popsicles.   And, thank goodness - ice cold Diet Coke.   I can honestly say I have never experienced the variety and depth of junk food recovery items at one post race celebration!   What a site I must have been waiting in the beer line with my bottle of water, can of Diet Coke while eating my chocolate filled cupcake.  The Bix guys know how to throw a party... and a race!

And last, but not least, it was the treat of running and celebrating with fellow Loungers - CoffeeBetsy, her husband Steve, Dennis, his brother Devon, and Kent.

Tom said it best, "This is my new favorite race.  I am coming back every year!"

AMEN brother - sign me up! 

Open Mic Friday: Lily on the Road

Open_mic_friday Welcome to our friend, and everyone's friend from the North - Laurel, aka Lily on the Road.   We met Lily shortly after launching the Lounge and what we love about her is the constant support, happy thoughts and the fact she is always challenging her running.  She loves gardening, as do Tom and I, so we imagined a virtual meeting in her garden, with a soothing beverage, to learn more about her and her running.

Note from Laurel:  I would first like to thank you so much Amy and of course Tom for this wonderful privilege of sharing my running story with you. Without the enthusiasm of the two of you, many of us would not have had the opportunity of "meeting" one another! 

Why and when did you start running?
Running was reintroduced to me by one of my now really good friends. At the time I was recovering from a very emotional transition to the single life and recovering from major surgery. Running as I know it now started with the simple question, "would you be interested in joining the little running club that is starting in Fitzroy Provincial Park?"  I had become an overweight, out of shape woman hitting mid life. Who knew that one little question would change me for ever! All this started about seven or more years ago. I have to honestly say I've never looked back!

Tell us about your favorite running trail/route. Laurel_1
Being truly blessed with where I live, there are so many routes and trails to choose from.
Whether I drive into town or stay out in the rural area, we have an abundance of trails to run on. Trying to pick a favourite is difficult, but when I run in town, the route from Cattail Trail, along the National Capital trails to the Ottawa River parkway is stunning. This route will give you well over 32K of running with spectacular vistas of the province of Quebec, the Ottawa River and exciting views of downtown Ottawa. When I stay closer to home, I love getting together with my running "Wooo Hooo" friends and run in Fitzroy Provincial Park. There are great trails, lots of hills and again, beautiful landscapes to take in.
I live on a peninsula in the Ottawa River. It is a perfect 10K around Constance Bay, if I want to run from my "front door", I head out along the river, no matter the season it is always a great place to run.

What makes a perfect run for you?
The perfect run for me is being able to just zone out and take in all of my beautiful surroundings. Long, easy runs are my favourites, it gives me the opportunity to dig into my thoughts and sort things through! When I'm running the longer distances, I always run 10 minutes and walk one. It just gives me a break to get some Powerade and gels into me so I can keep on going.  I don't run with "music", just the noises of nature. I love running along the Trans Canada Trail where there are so many wonderful things to see, especially running past Turtle Pond. I get a kick out of seeing all the really large turtles sunning themselves on the logs and on the banks of the pond.

What is the perfect run "killer"?
That's easy. Running with negative people.

We share some common passions outside of running - gardening and summer Laurel_garden beverages. Tell us about your favorites in the garden and your post run beverages.
Oh, I love my gardens! When I bought my little cottage there was nothing planted, the former owners were just not into gardening. Now, I am starting to run out of room for any more plants!!  The soil conditions are not the best, and it is very sandy so its "tough love" for any plant wanting to stay at my place! My absolute favourite plant is the day lily. I have at least ten different varieties, they just seem to thrive in the soil which I am forever putting in kitchen / garden compost and adding mushroom compost. I'm not too sure which is the better workout, gardening or running...

Luckily now, my gardens are at the stage where I can sit back and take in the view while sipping on my favourite beverage of the day. Believe it or not, since I've been adding the longer distances into my running programme, my body will not tolerate too much of a good thing. So, I pretty much stick to a beer or two although I do love Masi Rosso Modello delle Venezie 2002.

Laurel_2 You recently added a 50K run to your plan for next year. What was the inspiration? How will you tackle it?
Yes, I'm looking at the Run for the Toad next October in Cambridge, Ontario!! It is a 50K trail run. I love the long runs especially trail running (as long as the terrain is not too, too crazy).  I've been following Bob Gentile (Blog my Runs) and Marci (Ramblings of a Running Addict).  Although they are much younger than me, I thought wouldn't be a hoot to try a really long run. Then, I was talking to a fellow I know who is in his 60's and he is running the Toad this year.  Well, let me at it!!! Unfortunately this year the race is already "sold out". That's why my goal is for next year!

I'll use a marathon next spring / summer as my base and then get into trail running during the summer / fall. I am going to follow the training programme on the Run for the Toad website, but more importantly, I'll accept any knowledge other blogger's want to fire my way!!!

If you could change anything about your running, what would it be?
Hmmm, I'm not too sure....as long as I can keep healthy and injury free, that just about wraps it up for me!

What do you do when you aren't running?
My life is pretty quiet right now, so I'm either at work, in the garden or reading or reading about running!

What is your running dream?
There are so many beautiful places to run in this world!!   I'm starting to incorporate running with vacations. Last January I went to the Phoenix Rock n Roll and had an absolute blast.  In March we went to Hamilton Ontario for the 30K Around tLaurel_3he Bay, where we met the Grim Reaper.  This past weekend we have just returned from Utica, New York 15K Boilermaker.   Now that is a really FUN race!

I'd like to be able to do more travelling to some exotic locations and include more running  that's for sure!

If you could be granted a wish of run farther or faster, which would you choose?
Oh, definitely Farther. I'm built for distance not so much for speed!!

What is one running quirk/habit you can share with us?
Truthfully, I always say a prayer before every run, I'm just so thankful to have the capability to be able to run.

I always have to run on the right hand side of any race route I'm on. Don't know why, but boy am I out of my comfort zone if I'm not to the right! How weird is that??

What has been the biggest running challenge you have overcome?
Running in the Winter.  Training this past winter for the Ottawa Marathon, as my friends will attest to, I am not a winter person, AT ALL, so for me to get out in some of the weather conditions we had, gah, it was brutal. Especially when we had 28 - 30K to get in.

How does your family support (and/or cope) with your running?
Sad but true, I am on my own, so I rely on my Wooo Hooo friends for their patience, guidance and support.

Laurel_4 Your blog and notes in the Lounge always have such energy - where do you find it? How do you keep it?
I've always had an over abundance of energy! And I love positive! Positive re-enforcement to me is the tonic for my soul. We are bombarded by negative, constantly, unfortunately negative sells, how sad is that? How often do you hear a "good news story"?
Trust me I'm no Pollyanna, but I just love the positive energy I get from other people and I love hearing about achievements from other runners. I think that is why I am enjoying being a pace group leader for the Half Marathon this season. This is a "first" long distance run for many of the runners, so I get a kick out of sharing their experiences during the runs!

Since it is "Tough stuff" week, what are some of the "tough" things for you about running?
Other than getting out the door early on Sunday morning? Just keeping healthy, injury free, eating properly and staying fit enough for the longer races!!!

This September I have back to back Half Marathons!!  So the tough stuff for these two races is maintaining a stronger race pace and really getting my hill work in.  Nothing is better than hills to build your stamina!!  I'm also incorporating more upper body strength training to help me with these two races.

The first race is very first Canada Army Run which is fashioned after the Marine Corps., and then off to Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon the following weekend where I'll be meeting blogger Vickie, (Living & Tri-ing in River City) and hopefully a couple of the other bloggers such as Marci and Tiger!!!  I'm really looking forward to these two races.

The toughest thing for me in the future will be getting ready for the ultra.

What is your advice to other runners?
Don't over analyse your running, it isn't that difficult. Quoting my 76 year old Boston Marathon friend Alan, "it really is just one foot in front of the other".

Take It and Run Thursday: The Tough Stuff

Take_it_and_run_thursday_2 Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday!  It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

Today's theme is .... Overcoming the Tough Stuff.   However you define "tough", we all have parts of it in our running.  For some it is hills, humidity, heat, hell wind.  For others it is the middle of a long run or even others speedwork.   Tell the Lounge about the "tough" stuff in your running and how you overcome it.  Just enter your name and title and then the link to the URL in the space below.

Special bonus:  Everyone sharing personal experiences or suggestions to "Tough Stuff" is eligible to win a copy of the book, The Complete Book of Beginning Running, by Amby Burfoot, Executive Editor of Runners’ World magazine - autographed by the author.  Plus, we have some Runners’ Lounge t-shirts to give away.

Next weeks theme is .... Look Back, Look Ahead.  With over half the year behind us but about half ahead of us, it's a great time to look back at the goals we set for yourselves in the middle of winter and check in with our progress.   Are your goals still right for you this year?  Anything you would change?  What have you accomplished?  What have you learned along the way?  Use this chance to celebrate, to share what you have learned or simply check in with yourself.   Share your "a-ha's" with us!

Click here for a link to all the great posts on Overcoming the Tough Stuff.

15 Tips for Overcoming Running's Tough Stuff

Heroes_wanted_2 The problem with the “tough stuff” about running is it’s all so personal. 

For some of us the tough stuff is infrequent but major.  For others it’s ongoing and nagging at us.  But regardless, the tough stuff can keep us from enjoying our running and being our best.

The ideas below come from a longer list of tips in The Complete Book of Beginning Running, by Amby Burfoot, Executive Editor of Runners’ World magazine. 

Complete_book_of_begining_running Everyone sharing personal experiences or suggestions to get through the Tough Stuff is eligible to win a copy of the book, autographed by the author.  Plus, we have some Runners’ Lounge t-shirts to give away.

Just tee up your ideas at tomorrow’s Take It And Run Thursday or leave a comment.  All the ideas will be compiled and your ideas might very well make a difference to another fellow runner.

15 Tips for Overcoming Running's Tough Stuff

  1. Don’t plan your running route…turn where you want or even where you’re least likely to turn on your more routine runs.
  2. Dedicate each mile you run to some cause, suffering, or someone very important to you. 
  3. Add a theme to your runs—running to different schools, churches, parks, coffee shops
  4. The day before your long runs, go out along your course and drop pennies along the route.  It will get you out there for the run, you might get some pennies back, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t!
  5. Take a shower before you run.  It wakes you up, re-energizes you and leaves you feeling ready to start your run.
  6. Before doing a tough run or speed session, read up on the type of workout in one of your running books.  It helps review what benefits you’ll be getting from the workout.
  7. Prepare for the tough workouts the day before. Lay out all your clothes or pack them in your gear bag.  Plan and write down the precise workout you want to do—number of miles, repeats, pace, your mantra.  Organize your meals, snacks, and hydration accordingly.
  8. Write a brief description about how great you feel after your runs, what it does for you body, mind, and the rest of your day.
  9. For fun speedwork, do “carleks” instead of fartleks.  It can mean running from parked car to parked car—you choose the spacing—or can mean start running when a car passes you and hold the pace until another car passes you. Just have fun with it!
  10. Create your own mantras—one for getting out the door, one for hills, one for recovery between repeats, one for finishing well.
  11. Never miss an opportunity to train in truly miserable weather.  It creates a huge challenge and gives an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
  12. Do your long run during the week instead of during the week.  That way after it’s over, you’re sore and cranky at work.  Then come the weekend, you’re feeling refreshed and not so pressed for time, and your best is available or family and friends.
  13. Deposit a quarter in a piggy bank for every mile you run.  It adds up to buy something you want like music, gear, or a race registration.
  14. Before a long run, write “15 Mile Training Run” on the back side of an old race number and pin it to your shirt.  It makes the run feel more important and you might get yells of encouragement.
  15. And this idea is completely mine.  Pick out a favorite BRF (blogging running friend), or find a member of Runners' Lounge whose interests, capabilities, or goals are comparable to yours.  Then leave them a comment on their blog or on their profile that just says you’re thinking of them on your next run or ask them to send you some good vibes.  Trust me, other runners will understand and you’ll feel a difference.

Bring on your ideas to get through the Tough Stuff.

Hero shirt on Flickr by knzfan

Overcoming the Tough Stuff: My Brain

Why is it that if someone tells us that there are one billion stars in the universe, we will believe them.  But if they tell us a wall has wet paint, we have to touch it to believe it’s really wet?

Brain_training_for_runners_2There's a lot to be said about what we believe about our own running and amazing too how fickle our running heads can be.

Consider how I’m working on my running in preparation for the Chicago Marathon.  Endurance—check.  Speed—check.  Weight—check.  Core strength—check.  Hydration, flexibility, recovery—check, check, check.

Notice the absence of focus on the mental game of my running.

Oh sure, the day-in-and-day-out training add up to a more confident me.  But I also know that on race day, my self confidence can be fleeting. 

I have a whole range of negative thinking that can disable months of training and planning.  One minute I’m wearing all the confidence of a solidly-trained and experience runner.  The next moment, I’m milk toast.

Some days, my mental game can be so frail, that one thought alone of others’ capabilities has been known to set me back in a race.  I’m disadvantaged even before a race is underway merely by glancing around at more athletic, fit, trim, taught, and seemingly better-trained runners than me.

Then the race unfolds, and it’s a whole new set of challenges as the waves of fatigue and discomfort hit me.  I can ward off the early stuff, but as the difficulty increases, then the excuses just seem to pile up with each stride.

“Guess I’m not in shape…”

“Today isn’t my day…”

“Still not recovered from my last long run…"

And those are just the nano-second thoughts, and I'm beginning to slow down.

Then I start hearing the voices and the thoughts keep hammering at me repeatedly and in much more developed sentences.

“You’ve run enough years…or miles…or marathons (whatever excuse I prefer) and you don’t have anything more to prove.”

And before I know it, I've cashed in my goal and I'm rehearsing what I’m going to tell my family, friends, and co-workers about my performance.   (The truth is they really don’t care and don’t measure me by time, finish, or what I tell them.)  Then I sometimes break down my story into more details I’ll share with runners versus non-runners.  Do I refer to elementary stuff like the weather or the course, or do I go into more technical detail such as depleted glycogen stores or my lousy piriformis?

Running_within_2 We invest in so much physical effort, learning, putting in the time, managing our gear, and building hope.  And then in the time it takes for our feet to land between strides, we trample our own self confidence.

In working with others under stress I’ve learned that the average person experiences somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 unique thoughts a day.  And it’s not uncommon for 30% - 40% of thoughts to be negative for even the mentally healthiest of us.  So I can only imagine how the flow of negative thoughts increases and pummels us when we’re at midpoint or later stages of a demanding training run or race.

Why is it I’d rather study and rehab a sore muscle than manage the flow of negative thoughts that assault my mind? Especially when there’s no shortage of helpful tools, techniques, and approaches that can help manage our mindsets and whirlwind of thoughts while running.  A few include:

Mental Training

The Body Achieves When the Mind Believes

Self Talk and Running Performance

Marathon Training: Psychological Issues

Be Positive: Talk to Yourself

Maximum Strength Positive Thinking

The mental discipline of Marathons

Self Talk and the Endurance Athlete

Mental Marathon

A personal favorite book on the subject is Running Within: A Guide to Mastering the Body-Mind-Spirit Connection for Ultimate Training and Racing.  Plus on my night stand (translated: it's bookmarked and been there for months) is a book called Brain Training For Runners.

Speaking of the mental aspect of running the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is conducting a study on marathoners and satisfaction.  Not sure what satisfaction means—Marcy, I'm pretty sure it's not what you're thinking.  But if anyone wants to be part of the study, you just can check out which marathons the study includes, complete a few surveys and then you're eligible prizes.

The tough season is upon us, so we're eagerly, okay frantically, looking forward to learning from each other at this week's Take It And Run Thursday.

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