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1 Prospect Court
The Broadway
Farnham Common
Bucks SL2 3QQ
01753 647339
Unit 1, Prospect Court, The Broadway, Farnham Common, Bucks SL2 3QQ - Telephone: 01753 647339

Training the Mind

Training the Mind

"I could never run 10k" is a common phrase uttered by non-runners, beginner runners, even intermediate runners! Yes, you probably could, you just don't realise it. In fact there are probably bigger distances you could run, you just don't realise it. I believe there are a lot of capabilities people could tap into themselves... if they just believed it!

The furthest I've run is a 145 mile race from Birmingham-London along the canal, non-stop. For me, it was partly the physical training (which is obviously important), but the mental training is equally important, if not more. Took a month or two to think a lot about the event, and convince myself it is achievable. I figured that if others could complete the event in the past, then why couldn't I? And if I (and numerous others) could run that distance (or even further!) then a lot of people can run 10k, or whatever the desirable distance is. The body is capable of amazing things, people just don't realise it.

I find a lot of what is achievable is what you tell yourself you're capable of completing. A completed 5k for the first time could be the stepping stone to a 10k. More training would be necessary but convincing yourself you can do it plays the biggest role. Just a brief period to think about and being positive about completing it will make a huge difference.

For example, people looking to run a marathon for the first time may complete their first half marathon and be doubtful they could then run a marathon. "I could never run that distance again! How am I going to complete 26.2 miles?!" Yet before setting out on those 13.1 miles the mind is told what lies ahead, and near the end of the race/run starts winding down. Whereas at the start of a marathon, the mind will know there's 26.2 miles ahead and will no doubt 'breeze' through the 13.1 mile mark knowing there's more to go. Obviously the pacing would be that bit slower to allow for the extra mileage and more training would have been done.

The same can be said for those having run a 5k, the mind would be ready for the upcoming 10k ahead so should 'breeze' through 5k!

Another thing mental training helps with is a kind of duping effect. In the weeks building up to an event, particularly longer events, is to spend a little time each day visualising your success. Break the event down in your mind; think about the beginning part of the race, thinking about pacing and enjoying the event. Keep visualising yourself progressing in the event, doing well and enjoying it, but being realistic at the same time. So if running a marathon, visualise getting to halfway feeling ok but enjoying it, then see yourself at 18 miles still going, feeling tired and possibly a bit sore, but good to keep going, and so on until the finish line.

If it's a race you're doing for the first time, possibly try to find any photos online of the race in previous years showing the finish line of previous competitors finishing, and get that image in your mind of yourself crossing that line.

All these thoughts should be positive, duping the brain so that at each of those visualised points of the race your mind will take you back to those thoughts, hopefully flooding the mind and body with the positiveness it was fed in the weeks before. It's worked for me on much more than one occasion and I truly believe in it.

In addition to all the above, there are energy supplements (that definitely do work if used properly, they're not just a gimmick!) and having the correct running footwear to prevent potential injuries, all assist with the achievements.

Finally, turning to the physical side of things, the more steady training that is done, the more achievable the goal will seem over time. When starting the initial training for an event, the body will probably tell the mind it doesn't feel it will be able to cover the desired distance. Combining the mental training and the regular training will strengthen the body as the weeks pass and be able to cover more distance, boosting confidence at the same time. Working in a running shop I see evidence of this almost on a daily basis.

If others can cover the distances, why not you? Just try it. If it's not for you, fair enough, but at least it should be attempted. You will probably surprise yourself!

11th October 2021  syedlearns
Your blogs always bring a curve to my lips – and I cannot thank you enough, write convincingly, think creatively.How Many Miles Is a 5k Race
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