How to Build Back Mental Confidence

Running is 1% physically and 99% mental.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there is a lot of mental component to the sport (or any sport really).  As most people know, most of 2016 and 2017 were not my years for running.  I set two of my favorite distance PRS (5k and 13.1) in January and February of 2016.  After that, I haven’t PRed.  

So here I am almost 2 years later, with no PRs.  I’ve been trotting along with running.  I’ve taken extended breaks from both injury (last year I fractured my heal) as well as just plain mental burnout.  So I haven’t run for 2 years straight, but I have trained and gone through training cycles.

I can’t quite say my mental game is exactly where it should be, but it’s getting a lot better.  As I get back into fitness during the last few months, I’ve pretty much run with no worry about pace or distance unless I’ve raced.  I wrote more about that here.

Half of my training miles have been above 9 minutes, and I haven’t worried about it.  I’ve run and gone about my day.  Right now, I have a solid foundation and base.  I know my base miles have set my body up to begin doing more speed workouts and hone in on speed.  I will get there.  Who knows how long it will take but running is lifelong!  I would rather not rush anything and burn out…again.

Most importantly though, running without time and pace has given me a huge mental break.  Once again, I feel happy with running.  Thinking out loud, I don’t feel like it’s forced or dread getting out there.

So How do you Build Back Mental Confidence?

For me, mental confidence takes a lot more time to develop than physical speed and endurance.  Here are a few techniques I’ve used.

  • Stop Negative Self Talk: If you think you’ll run like garbage, you probably will. Last year, I thought I would run like garbage at the Philadelphia marathon…and…I did!
  • Stop Comparing: This means stop comparing yourself to others and to yourself. Now that Instagram running is “so big”, it’s easy to look at someone and be like…how do they run fast all of the time.  But just worry about yourself (or don’t worry about all)…and I’m too old school for Strava, so I’ll let you remove comparison traps there for yourself.
  • Set Smaller Goals to Achieve Your Bigger Ones: For me, I set a smaller goal to get back out there. Then another goal to do a few 5k, then a half and then begin honing in on speed.  You don’t need to set a huge goal of PRing when you aren’t running or dropping an hour from your marathon.  Set a bite-sized goal and move forward.
  • Visualize: I cannot emphasize this enough but visualizing running and doing well will help tremendously.  My college swim coach had us visualize swimming well at conferences, and I always felt more confident after that.

It’s always important to remember that running is lifelong.  There are races any weekend you want, and if you don’t feel mentally right, you should work on that first.

Questions for you:

How do you stay mentally strong with any sport?  

What are some mental techniques you use?

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What is Success?

Last weekend Tim and I celebrated his grandpa’s 90th birthday. As I said yesterday, we had a great time relaxing and hanging out.  While wishing him a happy birthday and listening to several of his life adventures, I couldn’t help but wonder…how does one achieve success like his grandpa has in 90 years?

I’m currently 24 years old.  I can’t help but wonder what I have even accomplished. Do I even consider myself successful? I went into college with a clear cut path of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a math teacher and excel at swim team.  Yet I find myself completely happy at where I am today doing nothing that I had set out to do.

I found myself asking several questions.

What have I accomplished in my life? Am I happy with my life?  What is success anyways?  Is success making a lot of money?  Is success being rich and famous?  Having the top job?  Running the fastest? Is success using your college major to get a dream job?  Is there even one definition of success?

My definition of success is being happy.   Being happy and being able to survive physically, mentally and financially.  If you are enjoying life and it’s precious moments along the way…you are successful. Not every moment in life will be enjoyable but not every moment in life should be miserable either.

I can truly say that I have found that success with my life so far.  While I’m only 24 years old, I’ve found that you cannot pinpoint success.  Success is a collection of things happening in your life.

It’s being happy with yourself.

It’s connecting and cherishing your bond with family and friends.

It’s enjoying small moments and not taking them for granted.

It’s not worrying over small things and realizing will it all matter next year?  Will I care in a month?  (Will a minor injury be forever…)

It’s truly enjoying your job.

It’s not obsessing about one factor in your life.

It’s living life to the fullest.

Each person’s definition will always be different. 

successtimandi

 

Ninety years is 32,850 days and there is no need to stress over one, two or 100 or even 1000 of them.

Question for you: What is your definition of success?

Elbow Updates

As you probably know I fractured my elbow.  I know if you follow me on twitter, instagram, blogging, ect. , that I talk about it daily.  First, I can’t thank everyone enough for their well wishes about healing quickly. Believe me I want it to heal as fast as possible too.  It is just a set back in my training because I worked so hard to stay injury free all summer then to be knocked down by a cyclist.  Freak accidents and I go hand in hand.

Incase you wondered I have a nondisplaced fractured radial head.  Essentially this is the most minor of breaks and like a stress fracture didn’t show up on the x ray.  I have another appointment tomorrow and hopefully it shows up on the x-ray then (which means it is healing).

How am I feeling about my elbow?

Physically:

It hurts but I’m not in immense pain.  It feels like someone is pinching the side of my arm or that I hit my funny bone and that pain is not going away.  From what I have gathered as long as I don’t slip and fall it will heal rather quickly.  If I do fall I could shatter the bone, displace the bone then create all sorts of problems needing surgery.

While the ER doctor last week said I could run if I was careful…I haven’t run anything substantial.  (I ran a mile and my arm felt the same). I also want to see what my orthopedist says tomorrow before running anything too long.   I am happy that I’m able to cross train and keep my elbow in place with absolutely no pain.  If I couldn’t cross train for a month or two, I may go a little nuts but I would rather heal then do something dumb.

To summarize, physically I am not taking any pain medications and my elbow feels like someone is continuously pinching me.

Mentally:

I was already feeling very down with regards to marathon training.  I felt like I was not ready and still had 10 weeks to go.  This weekend was supposed to be a 20 mile long run for me and I knew that would allow me to feel better and more confident.  Since I highly doubt that will be the case, I’m still feeling down on myself.

Do I know if I’ll run the marathon?  No, it’s way too early to tell.  Do I think I will?  Yes.

I’m trying to stay extremely positive because there is nothing that negativity will do.  If I sit here and cry…I’ll still be here crying with a broken arm.  If I try and stay positive and motivated then I’ll be positive and motivated…with a broken arm.

Questions for you:

Have you ever broken a bone?

Have you ever been to a chiropractor? 

PMB (week 10?)

Physical, Mental and Brags of my break.  Similar to college breaks (oh right because I’m working on a college campus), I had a very long and extended time at home to figure myself out.  As happy as I was at home, I’m also really really excited to be back with some of my new friends and working as well as starting a new chapter in my life.  

 

This round of PMB (week 10??), I think I’ll highlight my some successful fun I had over break.

pbm

Physically:  Physical aspects of myself…This one actually took the longest for me to write this week.  Normally I can just say I’m god’s gift to the world.   Physically during my break,  I made myself be presentable most days of the week. 

real girl.
real girl.

 

Mental:  This was the easiest one for me.  Being sick half of break (and having awesome plans to run high mileage) I mentally just said no.  No I’m not going to run through and end up on the side of the road…why would that be fun. 

Brag: I ran 5 road races over break (4 5ks, and a 20k) and I won 3, placed 2nd in one and got 3rd in another.  One of the 5ks that I ran in December was only a few seconds off of my personal best time so that was exciting.  I enjoyed the running I did do…would I have liked to run more?  Sure, but as I say often…running is a collection of workouts versus a single week or month.

running.
running.

All in all I had a great break but I’m more then excited to be back.  I know I bitch about the cold (because I hate it) but I’m glad to be back working again.

Question for you: What are your PMBS?

2012 PMB

As you guys may or may not know, today’s PMB is focused on my (and your!) yearly accomplishments and brags…mostly because it’s the last Thursday of the year!  I don’t know about you but I’ve had a pretty roller coaster of a year and have actually lived three different places (arctic tundra, heat box and ice cube…that is if you follow me on twitter).

First, what do you think of the new PMB emblem?

pbm 

Physical: This year especially, I have noticed physically my body has changed to adapt even more to running.  It generally knows about works the best for the mileage I’m running at the time.  Junk in the trunk?  A rail…my body knows more than I do.  A lot of people are under the strict impression that the smaller you are (to a point) the faster you’ll run.  This is somewhat true, but I’ve noticed I run a lot better when I have a little junk in my trunk and I actually like that!  (For your sake and mine, I’m not going to post a booty shot…).  But needless to say throughout this year (injured or not) I have loved my body.

Mental: Oh geez.  In January I started a class to plan my internship not knowing where in hell I wanted to go.  I had originally thought NYC but sadly that didn’t work out.  It was coming down to the wire and boy was I stressed.   I finally found the internship that I did in the fall and I honestly could not have been happier. Then in July and August preparing for my internship…I was stressed.  Then during my internship looking for jobs…I was stressed.  Needless to say 2012 was EXTREMELY stressful for me…but I made it through.

Brag: I made it through.  (This should be all of your brags!) Just kidding.  I made it through and I had a solid year fostering many different friendships.  I PRed in running in EVERY distance.  I really just learned to go with the flow.  I was injured, but made the best of every situation I could.  Also I graduated college and am (hopefully) done with school forever.  (mom might get mad if my biggest accomplishment wasn’t graduating college)  I have no plans to go to grad school right now.

megraduation

So thank you 2012 and hopefully 2013 will be just as good!

Question for you: What are your PMB’s of the year?  Did you link up?