Mind games

Posted on: 20 May 2012

After last Sunday's tough LSR when I struggled over the last couple of miles, it struck me that a difficult run, one that doesn't go to plan, is actually really good for you. Remaining mentally strong, being able to set yourself short-term goals - like just getting to the next lampost without stopping - prepares you for the periods in a race when you're physically at your limit and when it's your mental strength as much as your physical condition that gets you over the line.

In case you hadn't guessed (!) I'm a big believer in the importance of the mental approach to sport - in fact to life in general. When I was coaching cricket at U15 county level, I focussed as much on the mental side of the game as much the technical aspects. How you react to adversity - playing a bad shot or missing out on hitting a bad ball for 4 - was just as important to coach as getting your head in line.

So I approached this week with confidence - and was rewarded with 3 good runs. Tuesday's 2 mile recovery run was followed by a 6 mile tempo run on Thursday which I completed in 59:22 with splits of 9:37, 9:39, 9:35, and 9:36 for the middle 4 miles against a target of 9:40. For todays 7 mile LSR I took Alistair's advice and started off a tad slower than last week with the aim of maybe knocking a couple of seconds of each subsequent mile and ended up with splits of 10:49, 10:53, 10:44, 10:43, 10:41, 10:30, and 10:24, to run it nearly a minute quicker than last week - but most importantly I definitely felt stronger over the last 2-3 miles as my splits suggest.

This week I aim to repeat those runs which will take me to 10 days before the first Yateley 10K race. I'll then ease off on the training and although my PB of 51:43 is definitely safe I'm very much hoping I'll be able to run sub 1 hour.

Enjoy your running! 

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