Saturday, 9 August 2008

8 on the 8th: Fit enough but lacking mental discipline

Non-Runner Nancy set up another virtual race and I finally managed to participate in one. I haven't been running much, riding my bike instead, so I was a little nervous and to be honest if Nancy hadn't set this up I probably wouldn't have done 8, especially because the weather was trademark London summer shite (cold and rainy, leaving me wishing I'd worn long sleeves instead of a tank top).

For the first time I took a Camelbak with me - I've been riding with it but have never run with it. I was really glad to have the water, but it wasn't super comfortable and I couldn't ever get it to stop sloshing.

I felt good physically - my legs and lungs are still in good enough shape to run 8 miles - but the mental discipline is completely gone. I had forgotten my iPod and could never get into the groove. I kept stopping to walk, for no reason at all. I don't think I qualify for a gold medal - maybe pity applause like when Eric Moussambani of Equitorial Guinea swam.

How do you train yourself for the mental aspects of running? I was thinking about this today - that you have to have mental discipline to get faster, but the faster you get the less you need it. I mean, Paula Radcliffe could run most of a marathon in the time it took me to run 8 miles. And closer to home, Frayed Laces ran a half-marathon faster. (Actually, most of you probably can - she was just the first woman on my blogroll with an easy-to-find PR that verified this fact.) So I'm particularly interested in hearing from those of you who are, or have been at some point, slow.

8 miles, 1:45:56


Rhonda said...

I found you through another blog and enjoy reading! As a fellow slow runner who just ran my first 8-miler yesterday, I totally know what you mean and I fight with this concept of running long distances at such a slow pace! But lately what helps me is to cheer myself on at every mile (yay, one more down!) and not count down the mileage, it keeps your motivation much higher! I also mentally make a list of things in my mind to think about on my runs, so I feel like I'm doing something somewhat productive...but I hear ya, when you are as slow as we are, and half of your day is devoted to running because of it, it's hard to mentally rationalize the use of the time for me sometimes...but I always feel stronger at the end!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

I struggle with my slowness all the time. I am so at the back that is sometimes makes me sad, but I really do enjoy it out there. I try to just enjoy every run and not worry about it too much, and I do love to say, oh yeah, I did 8 yesterday. That's still more than most people can say! You could also try my club - beat those bad thoughts back and counter them with good! :D

Thanks so much for running with us. I love to hear that it got someone going that might not have run or at least might not have run that far on that day. Mission accomplished!!