A secret of mentally tough runners (this is best done in the winter...)
“Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.”
The mind, like any other muscle in a runner's body, must be trained.
You want to be able to "win" these mental arguments many times over a training sessions or race to ensure that you are letting your body express its full fitness potential and not letting your mind suppress that fitness by persuading you to quit early...
Fortunately, the mind is very malleable and mental toughness is very trainable.
So, how should you train the mind?
There are near-infinite ways.
However, there is one interesting mental training exercise that I have noticed in the Stryd Community recently that I want to tell you about.
"Stryders" are purposely signing up for extremely challenging races.
For example, they are purposely picking hilly races during cold, windy times of the year.
They typically pick the same race distance that they plan to run for their A-race in the Spring or Summer.
What is the strategy here?
They know they are going to run slower on these courses.
There is no doubt about that.
Instead of aiming for an unrealistic pace, they are aiming for the power target they hope to run at later in the Spring or Summer for their A-race.
This exercise is toughening their mind.
They know that if they can complete a tough race at their ideal intensity, it will be easy to match or exceed that power target on an easier course in nicer weather conditions.
Here is how "Stryder" Will turned this trick into reality:
I used Stryd in a hilly and windy race.
Stryd really delivered for me today. Despite the hills (10% max) and wind (also 10% power for extended periods) I was able to set a new power-based personal record, by maintaining a new best for 48 mins.
You've heard it all before I'm sure, but passing people in the final stages of a race feels great.
I trust that Will will have no problem setting a new time-based record using that same power target when the weather turns nicer and he runs on an easier course.
The moral of the story is that you should use the difficult conditions of the winter to your advantage.
You should race at the same intensity that you hope to run at later this year to toughen up your mind.
Stryd can help ensure you are running at the right intensity in difficult conditions with running power.
You can get Stryd here: https://store.stryd.com/
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