Some of my readers may be wondering why I am writing this blog. I have several reasons, some personal, some not, and I thought I would share some of my reasons for writing with you, the reader.
One reason I am sharing my story through writing is that I enjoy it, immensely. I love to write and I am quite good at it, at least that is what I have been told by friends, family, and many of my past college professors. Another reason I do this is to keep track of myself and my training, as I learn and grow. It provides a written account filled with reminders of where I was and where I am, as well as my mindset, my emotional state, how I am feeling physically, and how strong I feel mentally.
Another reason I am writing about my journey is to share my experiences with others. If I, as someone who has always hated anything of a physical nature, can learn to enjoy running, as I am doing, anyone can. I want to encourage others to get off that couch and get out to the gym, out on the road, out on the trail, etc. I want others to know they are not the only person out there working to change their lifestyle and dealing with more than just the physical aspect of training. So much of training is mental…it is often said that training is 10% physical and 90% mental. That’s just a huge percentage. And, as novices, we so often times forget this mental aspect. Many times, the mind gets in the way and hinders us continuing to train.
I am no expert in how to build mental stamina. Heck, I am still working that out for myself. And, frankly, what works for me on one run does not always work on another run. I watch videos of professional runners all the time—videos in which they race, videos in which they talk and share their knowledge. I also read blogs of various runners, professional as well as just experienced runners who are not pros, and I read running magazines. I don’t read them for the training tips. I have good form and I assess my form regularly so I minimize the potential for injury. The indicator that I am doing well in this area is how my body feels. My knees feel great, my core is strong, I run relaxed, the muscles in my feet continue to strengthen, and my leg muscles feel fluid and good. I read and watch to discover how these individuals utilize mental strength, how their attitudes are, how they talk. I take what jibes with my own personal philosophy and I work hard to implement those things into my training. I believe this to be of utmost importance because I have struggled in the past with the mental aspect of training. I haven’t quit because of the 10%. I haven’t quit because of injury. I have quit when my mental fortitude gave way and I fell prey to my own internal state.
This is the biggest reason I write. I refuse to fall prey to myself again. I want this! I want to run, and I want to continue to run even when my mind tries to get in the way of that desire. So, I continue to watch and learn, to run and learn, to make mistakes and learn. I continue to do what I need to do on any given run to keep my motivation high. Sometimes that means I go into a meditative state, refraining from talking to anyone, other times I talk with my running partner. Sometimes, like top sky runner Kilian Jornet, I take the time to notice the beauty of the world around me, the contrasts of color, the beauty of the surrounding trees, flowers, bushes, the clarity of the sky. Other times I keep my eyes focused ahead other than when I check for traffic or take note of my surroundings. Either way, whether looking around and enjoying the beauty around me, or maintaining a forward focus, I keep my core solid and maintain an upright running position. I am learning that what works for me, at least right now, is to change things up, keeping my running interesting. I change my focus, I change my route, I change the length and pace of my runs and utilize intervals, I change the days that I run. This works for me. As I evolve over the upcoming months and years, I may find that something else works better. In the meantime, I continue on, developing my love for running as I grow and develop myself.