Monday, November 5, 2012

Five Miles and a Mental Block

I am seriously thinking that I need to go see a therapist who specializes in working with athletes. SOMETHING is holding me back in my running lately and I'm not sure how to get through it. Yes, I've hit a mental block that I can't seem to overcome. I'm not sure how to get past it. It seems to occur most when I'm at home and only with my running. As much as my muscles hurt when I do strength training, I don't want to stop that and I keep pushing without giving up (unless my muscles happen to give out and I drop a weight or something, but even then I pick it back up and keep going).

I know that this all stems from self-doubt and perfectionistic tendencies. I am also highly competitive. When it comes to running I'm not competitive with others, but I am with myself. That's probably a huge part of it

This article about running and mental blocks sums me up, to a point. I read it and hopefully keeping those things in mind will help me get past this.  The article talks about part of what's up with me, which will be helpful. I hope.

I like to run. When I finish a good run, I feel amazing.  When I finish a bad run, I feel upset. I feel like I couldn't done better, if I walk (generally during a "bad" run) I tell myself I should not have walked, and it makes me feel like I failed.  Then I start worrying about the half marathon and get scared that I won't be able to finish it.  Scratch that. I KNOW I can finish it, but it's being able to run it all that's annoying me. Why is it that I so desperately want to only run when I set out to do a run. Why won't I let myself accept that it's OKAY to walk if I need to? I feel like if I walk, I fail.

I had what I refer to as a bad run on Saturday.  It was  five mile run, less than half the distance I will be running for the half marathon in February. When I finished, thinking I hadn't done well because I walked a bit, I felt like there's no way I can do the half marathon. 

How can I get myself to realize that it is okay to walk?

I do not have to run the whole thing to succeed. Walking, if needed, isn't going to cause me to be a failure. If I need to slow down for a few minutes, then that's okay. A failure would be not finishing. I always finish. 

The part of this that I find interesting is that it only happens at home/when I run alone.  If I'm in a race and I have to walk, I accept it. I don't know if this is because I am outside and I know that I run faster outside, so I'm okay with allowing myself to walk. I have no problem pushing when I'm in a race. I haven't run outside, other than during a race, recently, but when I did before I didn't have a problem slowing down or walking. It's also really easy for me to allow

Something about the treadmill causes me difficulty. I ran at a slower pace than I did my last 5K on Saturday. And I had a hard time with it.  I could feel every sore muscle. I had side stitches that caused me to walk. I felt like it was hard.

I'm easier on myself inside. I'm more willing to walk more often, and when I run outside I only do it when necessary. I also allow myself to just stop if necessary. I don't quit, but sometimes if a side stitch seems like too much, I'll stop for a few seconds. I stop my treadmill and my heart rate monitor and rest. Sometimes it's for ten seconds and sometimes it's for thirty...These rest periods are obviously not added to the time it takes me to do a workout.  Resting should be walking, NOT stopping. I definitely don't do this outside....Just stop and stand there. I'd, for sure, look like some kind of a freak if I just stopped and stood in the middle of the street. I'm want to laugh at that thought of that... Me, just standing there staring into space.  Yeah, not happening outside!!!

There's a quote; "don't stop, people are watching."  I think keeping that in mind helps me when I'm outside. It motivates me... A lot... To run as much as possible and walk only if really needed; to keep going no matter what (unless I'm injured, of course). Well, that and my determination to finish. I'm not going to sign-up for a race and then not finish hit. To me, that's silly.

I need to find ways to motivate myself on the treadmill like I do outside.  When I'm in my basement, no one else can see me. Who's going to know if I stop for a quick break?  That pressure just isn't there. I need to figure out how to push myself hard when I'm alone. I listen to music and sometimes that keeps me going.  TV doesn't. I get too distracted and want to slow down.  I can't read (and don't know how some people can!) when I run. I try to tell myself that I have races coming up and need to do well on them, but I don't always listen to all of that. Why? Because I know I can do well outside despite my treadmill disasters.

What it comes down to is that I really need to figure out why running on the treadmill seems so much harder (especially since I work harder when I run outside) and why I'm easier on myself when I run on it.

Any thoughts or advice?

Hope your weekend was great!


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