We have all been there. You are in the middle of your run and it feels like your feet are cased in cement, your heart is racing at 100 beats a second, and you think “why am I even running right now?”
It’s for times like these and any other time in between that we need to step up our mental game and stay focused.
The old-time saying is that running is “90% mental and 10% physical.”
If this is true, then why do we spent so much time working on the 10% when we could be working on the 90%?
That is why I am here as a USAT Certified Triathlon Coach and RRCA Certified Running Coach to teach you my tricks and cheats to increasing your mental game while running, stay focused, and most importantly enjoying the run!
Whether you are an avid runner or just beginning this is for you!
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Mental Fatigue Vs. Physical Fatigue
At different points in our run we all hit this immovable force that has tormented every person who has tried their feet at running.
This mystical, but real force is known as “the wall.”
Runners from all walks of life, always talk about how it is so hard to break through the wall and continue to fight. Many say that it is the hardest part of any run.
Well, it’s time to buckle up, because I am going to tell you how to break through that wall and leave it in a million pieces behind you!
The first step is to understand the difference between mental fatigue and physical fatigue.
When you hit the wall during your run it is usually because one or both of these areas are feeling worn out.
Mental fatigue can be caused by a lack of focus, poor nights rest, or lack of balance in life. Symptoms include lack of motivation, judgement, alertness, and drive.
On the other hand, Physical fatigue can be caused when your muscles are physically exhausted due to an increase in the output of energy. Symptoms include muscle weakness, shortness of breath, and slow movements.
The Mental Walk Through
When you hit the wall, take time to think and go through this mental walk through.
- Am I experiencing mental or physical fatigue right now?
- If it is physical fatigue, is it caused by muscle soreness or joint pain? If it is muscle soreness continue pushing through, but if it is joint pain take it down a notch or even stop your run. You do not want to hurt yourself.
- With both types of fatigue take a mental journey through the rest of your run. Think of short-term goals like trying to make it through the next bend in the road, conquer the hill in front of you, or even just running for 5 more minutes.
- Try breaking up the rest of your time running into short increments to celebrate the little victories.
- Most importantly know that walls are only temporary! You will get through them just keep pushing!
After you smash through the wall and finish your run, take time later in the day to think about this walkthrough and make plans to overcome the different kinds of fatigue.
For example, if you experienced physical fatigue you should look at your nutrition. It plays a key role in muscle recovery and strength. Try IdealLean Electrolytes for fuel during the run and take some IdealLean Protein post-workout to recover quickly!