Monday, March 31, 2008

Tip One: Find Your Young/Old Lady!

Running is a great way to meet that special someone, heck that is how I met Dawn (and her cat) and she is eight years younger than me, but that is a story for another blog. This blog is about how your mind can become the best running partner you ever had with straightforward techniques that can easily be adapted into your everyday runs.

So let’s get started. Mastering the mental game of running starts with how you make sense of your experiences. Take a look at the image to the right. What do you see? It’s not a trick, okay maybe it is, there are two images a Young Woman and an Old Lady. Can you see them both? For me the Old Lady with her big nose looking down, always jumps out first. To see the Young Woman I have to focus and turn the tip of the Old Lady’s nose into the bottom of the Young Woman’s chin as if she is turning away. Why is this important and what does it have to do with running? This illusion is a metaphor to highlight the point that in every situation there is more than meets the eye. In the Young Woman/Old Lady illusion the image does not change but depending on what aspects of the image you focus on and its context to the rest of the image, the meaning of the image changes.

The same is true with running. With every run you have the power to take away what you want from both physically and psychologically from that run, by choosing what to focus on.

So for example, on a tempo run if all you can think about how you are sucking wind and are out of shape, chances are you are going to slow down and finish feeling crappy. However, on the other hand if you Find Your Young Woman and if you approach this experience as a chance to grind through a difficult run to make yourself mentally stronger you will likely finish feeling more positive and confident you can get through difficult runs. When I am having a tough run I use the mantra “Find Your Young Woman” to remind myself to change my focus to something more positive.


TNT Jim said...

I'd like to write something really witty here, but I have nothing. Coffee hasn't really kicked in. I'm gonna try this next time I'm having a rough go. I'm also gonna share this with A Boogie. Thanks Coach!

Deb said...

What if I AM actually fat and out of shape? :)

Just kidding, Coach Luis. Now that I'm back running (officially) I am going to need to read your blog more often to improve on my latest 11:05 pace 10K (wtf?!). :)

Aurora said... the trick of the mind, the mental game, is to find my inner young woman! And that should get me to running nirvana! Hmmn...well, she is in here, somewhere and I think she's about 26. All legs and about 128 1bs. Even my PT was shocked when he saw the picture. I was like...ok, here is your job. Get my legs and waist back to this shape. He looked at me dubiously. Then asked, is this really you?
I snapped the picture outta his hands...I need that young woman mojo for my mantra it seems.

Well, this past winter's cold temps had me running a 9:45 min/mile, a 10:18 and a 10:11! Yikes! I can really do this! Alas it was short lived. All this and down from an 11 min, but, somehow, old man winter deep-freezed the girl and flirted with my old woman (wise sage). Everything hurt this season. Hips, calves, butt, you name it. I've studied the young girl/old woman picture-nothing wrong with either, I suppose. Unless you wanna finish the full 26.2 in under 5:20. So, coach luis, I stopped running for 4 weeks, the old woman took a long hiatus, and like a butterfly outta the cocoon, the young woman's back, Dorian Gray-like. Young woman ran 20 miles long this past weekend! Thanks for the vote of confidence. Now I gotta see if she'll come on out for the hills in Hartsdale.