Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nip That Negative Energy in the Bud!

Yesterday I participated in day-one of a two-day seminar in Clarksville, TN (birthplace of Olympic gold medalist, Wilma Rudolph) that's apart of the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) running coach certification I'm seeking. It was 8 hours packed with great information covering the science of coaching—physiology, nutrition, injury prevention, and psychology.
One of the great pieces of information I learned that dovetails nicely with yesterday's post —"Set a Goal and Go For It!"—deals with controlling negative energy that might seep into your training and sidetrack you from your goal.

One way to control this negative energy is to meet it head-on by making a list of de-motivators—things that bother you and/or sap your motivation. One participant in the seminar said the she had always run shorter distances in college and was a pretty good at it. In fact she hated when someone passed her. When she decided to run a full marathon, she knew that since it was a much longer distance than she typically raced and with the shear volume of runners on the road during a marathon, someone would inevitably pass her. Once she identified this problem, she began to visualize herself wishing runners well as they passed her. She did this in her mind and on training runs prior to the marathon. Sounds kind of silly, but it really helped her diffuse her previous angst over passing runners.
Other de-motivators on your list? List them all. Don't hesitate to list ones you might think are trivial or silly. It very well could be that silly one that becomes a big problem for you during your training or on race day Your list might include—heat, cold, runners who don't look where they spit, having to keep up with hydration, calculating splits, managing the transportation of gels during an endurance race, trying to figure out your new GPS, leg cramps, keeping the sun out of your eyes, etc. Once you've made your list, evaluate the things you can't control such as other runners passing you, rain on race day, and unusual heat/humidity. Then, since you can't keep these things from happening, determine how you'll handle those situations and actually practice your solutions during your training runs. This will give you the opportunity, well before race day, try out your solutions and tweak them if need be. The remaining de-motivators on your list should be things that are in your control. Now that they've been identified, you can begin to work on them too. How can I manage transportation of those gels? How can I remember when to take in fluids? What can I do to keep from getting leg cramps?

This process may sound like it will take a lot of time, but it really doesn't. Take a few minutes one day to make your list. Then take about 30 minutes to divide your list into "in-my-control" and "beyond my control" items, and then brainstorm possible solutions for each set. Now that you've invested about an hour, the rest is easy. Just consciously address those de-motivators by testing your brainstormed solutions during your regular training runs and you'll be well on your way to nipping that negative energy in the bud!

Making yourself aware of what de-motivates you and then addressing or avoiding those de-motivators is a great tool to have in your arsenal of training strategies.

17 comments:

Regina said...

good advice.

You were either up very early or very late to write this.

HEATHER said...

very interesting! I'm going to make my list. It's funny how much your brain can mess with your running. This morning, I forgot my garmin for my long run, and it seriously threw me off for a good 2 miles. How silly is that?

ShutUpandRun said...

Another great post. Sometimes we forget how much the mind controls and influences us. Good idea to be conscious of those negative ideas and to jot them down.

TC said...

Trail runs were great this weekend. Very good post during difficult times for many.

Anonymous said...

Hi Thad. Thanks for inviting me to your blog. Definitely, this is a great post. I saw Wilma Rudolph on television once but I was pretty young. However, her story in itself is remarkable.

Hope you're enjoying the seminar. It's a great thing that you want to do.

BTW, I have my own blogspor blog if you want to check it out sometime. Take care and have a good rest of the weekend!

Wayne
http://runnersf.blogspot.com

Mark said...

Good blog-post.

I find the best mental defense against my own creeping pre-race anxieties and growing negativity is to guide my dream-state before sleep via positively visualizing a completely optimum race - from pre-race preparations through crossing the finish line in celebration.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Regina! Very late. Long weekend but awesome weekend. Got home from Tennessee this morning at 2:AM and then headed for an 1hr+ drive to Raleigh for my first 8:00AM clas at NPTI. The RRCA certification weekend was super informative and my first NPTI class today was just as good. But, I definitely need a nap!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Heather! I know what you mean. Sometimes we depend so much on routine and gadgets. One of my best race times, though came in a race that I had left my watch at home. I guess if freed me up and I just let my body do what it new to do. My brain probably would have limited it during the races telling me I could only go so far. Odd, huh?

RunnerDude said...

Hey ShutUpAndRun! Yep, sometimes when you lay things out so they are more concrete, it makes you address them and find solutions.

RunnerDude said...

Hey TC! Thanks!Glad the Trail runs were good!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Wayne! That's so awesome that you met Wilma Rudolph. How cool! Thanks for the feedback on the blog! Heading to check out yours now!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Mark! That's an awesome idea! Kind of like when I tell my self to wake up at a certain time before I go to sleep before an important day, I usually wake up at that exact time. Good I did to visualize what to dream about before hitting the sack. I'll try it!

David A. Kennedy said...

Great post!

I think your mental approach to runner is as important as a good pair of shoes.

I use to run with a guy we nicknamed Mental because he had so many hang-ups, but he slowly identified them with our help, largely using this strategy. You have to be honest with yourself. What scares you?

Thad – just discovered the blog and love it. Good stuff!

RunnerDude said...

Hey David! Thanks so much for the feedback on the blog! That's so awesome how you're group helped out "Mental." Runners really are great people.

home exchange said...

Wow, excellent excellent advice! And very encouraging too. Thanks for sharing! :-)

Marathon Maritza said...

Great post! I really needed this one today because I have been highly unmotivated this week. Thanks for the virtual, blog pep-talk!!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Marathon Maritza! You're certainly welcome! The encouragement and support among runners is one of the main reasons I love the sport so much.