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.