Runner’s World August 2004
By Jeff Galloway
THE STARTING LINE/ Q&A
Q: Why do I sometimes get “psyched out” before a run
and how can I avoid it?
A It’s common to wrestle with the negative mental messages
such as “I’m too tired” or “this will be
too hard” before a run. This is really just trash talk from
the left side of your brain, whose job is to steer you toward pleasure
and away from discomfort. Thing is, you know running ultimately
makes you feel great, so you need to drown out that negative chatter
with positive thoughts and actions.
Top off your tank. Eat a small high-carbohydrate snack and drink
a caffeinated beverage (if you’re a regular caffeine user)
30-60 minutes before the run. This will raise your blood-sugar level,
boost your energy, and rev you up mentally.
Tell a lie. Tell yourself you’re only going to run for 10
minutes. That’ll reduce stress so that you can get going.
Once a body is in motion, it wants to stay in motion.
Stop (briefly) and start. Break up your run into a couple of shorter
distances using different milestones along the way. Tell yourself
you’re just running from one landmark to the next. The breaks
will make the entire run seem more manageable.
Remind your brain who’s boss. As you finish a run, talk up
the accomplishment to yourself. Say out loud, “I feel so good.
I’m glad I did this. I look forward to my next run.”
Ending on a positive note can help ward off negative messages for
your next run.
THE EXCUSE (AND HOW TO BEAT IT)
I don’t run because I’m not disciplined enough.
What makes a runner stick with a running program? For a few individuals
it may be sheer discipline, but for most of us it’s the right
motivation-having a good reason to complete every scheduled run.
It’s just a matter of figuring out what works for you.
A great training partner (two- or four-legged) or the right running
group provides the perfect motivation for some. Knowing people are
waiting for you and depending on you to show up will help you get
out of bed or leave work on time.
Alternatively, if you attach a tangible purpose to your running,
such as completing a challenging goal race or racing for charity,
every scheduled run becomes important. And even recording each of
your runs in a logbook can be motivating, because you’ll look
forward to logging your distance for the day and will want to avoid
at all costs having to record a “goose egg”.
What helps you stick to your running routine?
The way it makes me feel 43%
Having a goal race to train for 33%
My training partner(s) 6%
Fear of weight gain 18%
Quick Fix: OVERTRAINING
SIMPLE SOLUTIONS TO COMMON RUNNING MISTAKES
Overtraining is the leading cause of running injury and burnout.
Just running a little too much or too hard for your fitness level
without proper recovery will eventually lead to overtraining. Take
note when your typical training pace feels like a chore or when
aches and pains occur more often. To avoid overtraining:
1) Monitor your pulse. For a week, take your resting pulse for 60
seconds before getting out of bed. Once your establish a baseline,
take a half-mileage day whenever your morning reading is more than
5 percent above baseline. When it’s more than 10 percent above,
take the day off.
2) Mind your mileage. Don’t let your weekly mileage increases
exceed 10 percent. After three weeks of mileage increases, drop
your mileage by 50 percent for one week.
3) Remember to recover. After a hard run, take an easy day or a
(Say What?) Running Jargon, Translated
MAX VO2 - Stands for the volume of oxygen the body can consume per
minute. One measure of fitness, it’s the maximum amount of
oxygen that a person can take in, transport, and use in the body’s
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