Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Mental Marathon

On Monday night, i went to Universal Sole for a fun run and training seminar put on by CARA.  I am doing the half training program this summer in preparation for the ZOOMA half marathon in August.  Some of our ZOOMA ladies showed up, as well as our sponsor, muscle milk! It was a kick off for half marathon training.  So, if you are on the lakefront Saturday mornings - look for me!

Because I am me, i missed the training run because of my inability to emotionally handle parking downtown, and ended up sitting in a corner of Universal Sole stewing.  Luckily Katie and Lauren couldn't find parking either.  Eventually the runners returned, including Kelly and Sierra, and we got down to business.  

Stole ya pic, Kelly!  Thanks!
I have been to many of these seminars, so most of the information wasn't new to me (but super helpful if you are a newish runner!)  Things like stretching, nutrition, etc.  The one new element was that they had a sports psychologist talk to us.  First off, i didn't even know there was such a thing as sports psychology, and now i want to know more about it.  Secondly, she briefly went over coping with the Boston Marathon tragedy, but mostly went over the mental aspects of training and marathoning (or half-marathoning!)  I know a lot of people (myself included) that do not perform well in the marathon distance despite being very talented runners (myself excluded).  Most of us train every muscle in our body except our minds.  (Except me - i skip my core workouts also).  So our body is physically able to keep going, but our minds freak out and we end up walking, crying, puking, drinking bloody mary's, whatever our coping mechanism is.  So really, most of it is a mental battle.

It's something i want to learn more about, and obviously, she only had 10 minutes to talk about it.  One snippet of advice she shared was to have a "power song".  A song that no matter what, you will run to. Its almost like a subconscious message to focus and get back in the game!  I have always had a power song, and it's Freebird, by lynyrd skynyrd.
Press play if you can handle the awesome.

Something about the slow start and increasing tempo just gets me to run, no matter how tired or hurting i am.  And it doesn't hurt that its like a 10 minute song.  I wont lie, during really awful training runs, i have listened to it multiple times in a row.  

Do you have a "power song"?  Have you ever heard of sports psychology??


  1. I'll look for you on the path Saturday mornings.. If you are out before 6:30am! lol

    I'm pretty bad about sticking to my core routine in evenings. If i try to do it before 8pm, my kid is jumping all over me. And any later, messes up my relaxation to bed time.

    The idea of a power song is new to me. You'll find a lot of people push a purist mentality. Not for everyone of course, I enjoy having no music on. I have built up maybe an addiction to the running rush, and feel sketchy if I don't run. Plus, I know that no matter what the weather is, there is someone else running and I should be there too.

    If I were to pick a running song, I'd pick some long remix from Tiesto to get lost into for awhile.

    1. It's funny you mention that, because someone brought it up. More that sometimes music isn't allowed or its not safe. That was her lead in to seek more info from a sports psychologist...sucked me right in!

  2. I am currently on a wait list for a sports psychologist. I had also never heard of them before, but my coach said that he can't fix my "head issues" and that I need to see a professional. They aren't easy to find either (maybe I should go back to school??) because there are only 3 in Spokane. The one I am waiting to meet with is an Olympic athlete. If he can't fix me then nobody can! :-)

  3. This sports psychology thing also intrigues me - I imagine I could benefit from hearing that sort of information since my mind is what constantly betrays me when trying to train for a race or commit to anything having to do with my health.

    As for a power song...I may have to lean towards "Paralyzed" by Finger Eleven. I don't have a lot of music on my iPhone unfortunately, but that's the best of what I usually run to, I suppose.

  4. Psychology of running.......I've always looked at running as being more mental than physical, in that your body will keep going LONG after your brain has said "STOP"......I think that's why the marathon appeals to me so much, because for me it's a test of my mental strength. I know I can do it, but how will I react when my brain starts shouting at I'm getting an image of Homer Simpson...."shut up, brain, or I'll stab you with a q-tip!".

    As for a power song for me.........that's easy.......Eminem's "Lose Yourself". Always makes me feel as if I could run through a brick wall! A close second is "What It Takes To Win" by Journey.

  5. Ooh this is very interesting! Don't feel bad. I work my running muscles and nothing else really ;) you're not alone!

    I've heard of sports psychologists because of the book "inner game of tennis" which applied wonderfully to my time as a musician having to perform.. Makes sense for marathons and stuff. I just wrote a post how I think my mind gives in and causes me to underperform at races. Makes sense we need to train that part too. But how do we do it!?!?

  6. We had a sports psych come and talk to us once a week during college swimming. All I really got from it was how screwed in the head I am when it comes to racing. Mostly just swimming racing though. Running is more for fun than swimming ever was! Less competition and pressure put on myself...

  7. A marathon is 99% mental and 1% physical, or so they say. I run without music so I use a mantra to help me focus and relax when my mind starts wigging out!

    I also try to give myself small goals, like make it to the next aid station to break down the marathon into doable chunks.

  8. my power song is by Rodney Adkins "If you are going through hell" or something like that..

  9. Oooh I need to add Free Bird to my playlist! It's one of my favorite songs of all time, but I never thought to run to it.

    With that said, I love slow running songs. When I started I would run exclusively to Bob Marley. Perfect pace. :)

  10. This is such a great topic because I think that running and sports in general are about 80% mental - and I definitely struggle with the mental strength when the going gets tough. I do have several power songs (pretty much any song that reminds me of the Blackhawks, since to me they embody elite athleticism and the will to succeed)!

  11. I love that power song idea! And you are totally cracking me up with this post (with all your parenthesis clarifiers).

    I stopped running with music in December (because I was afraid to put it on my phone) but I have a lot of songs that get me going - mostly BEP stuff, lol, like Shut Up, Pump It, etc.

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