While joggling the Disco Dash 10K yesterday I found it difficult to push myself. My final time was around 47:30 which puts me at a 7:39 per mile pace. That’s not bad but it isn’t one of my best efforts. I think my best marathon was a 7:38 per mile pace so I’m clearly not in the best shape of my life.
But as I was joggling the last 2 miles & listening to the audio book The First Three Minutes: A Modern View Of The Origin Of The Universe, I started to wonder why I wasn’t pushing myself. I thought of going all out. Sprinting as hard as I could. Catching that girl who stayed ahead of when she passed me at the turn around. Catching the guy in the curly orange haired wig who passed me after the second water stop. They were in my sights but I just didn’t have the mental fortitude to catch them.
I did pass a few people in the final 50 yards, so I had some fortitude, just not very much. How could I get more? How can I convince myself to deal with discomfort and pain for just a short while? I need some tips.
So, I did a Google search and found some suggestions. Here was a pretty good article on the subject of mental toughness for runners. Here are things they suggest to help make yourself more mentally tough. I wonder if they would help me.
1. Train your mental toughness during training. Play games with yourself during your training runs. Sprint between telephone poles. Race bike riders (or buses).
2. Run with other runners. Find people who are faster than you and run with them for as long as you can. In a non-competitive environment you will be able to train yourself to run faster for longer.
3. Simulate a race in your mind during training. Think about your next training run as a race. Run it like it is one, or at least run some of it like it is a race.
4. Do fartlek runs.
5. Give 100% during your race. Set a goal and commit to that goal. Then do it! I know I rarely set a goal (like last night’s race) and I end up disappointed in my performance.
6. Break races into segments. The first segment can be your warm up, the second segment you try to pass a few people and the third segment you give your strongest effort.
7. Learn when not to push. One of the biggest problems with runners is they start out too fast and burn out at the end. Force yourself to start slower than you want, then steadily speed up.
I’m not sure if these things will work for me but they do give me some things to think about and try. I’ll let you know if they help make me a faster joggler. Of course, there is no evidence that this helps with speed but it is a funny thing people do, how to color pubic hair.