Learn to Run 4: Be in the Know

30 Mar Learn to Run 4: Be in the Know

You’ve been following your training program. Your body is feeling fitter. You run a bit further and a tad longer each time. When this happens you can sometimes forget to ‘train the mind’ as well. Your body is capable of doing more than your ‘brain’ wants to allow. That’s why it is important to ‘Be in the Know’.

I. Know Your Race Course: Whether is is a local race or a destination event, chances are the race course will be posted on the race website. Study it; learn it; memorize it.

  1. 3 useful Things to Know About the Race Course:
  • kilometre markings
  • aid/water stations
  • right and/or left turns (you want to run the tangents in order to not ‘run extra distance’)

2. Strategies for Learning the Course (if a local race)

  • drive the route
  • take a picture of key spots
  • hand draw (yes, with your pencil on paper) a detailed map of the course
  • do weekly runs on the course

 Race Day you will be feeling good about knowing what’s ahead. ‘Been there. Done That.’

II. Know What to Do When a Bad Moment Hits during the Race: Fatigue Management Plan

‘Not good! Wish I had practised that Fatigue Management Plan.’

Nothing ever always goes perfectly according to plan. Your insurance policy is to know what to do when things start going sideways. It may be a sudden onset of overwhelming fatigue.  You simply lose your ‘oomph’, your desire to push on. It might be your brain is telling you this is all much too much effort. Leith Drury, Sports Psychologist, created an effective Fatigue Management Plan that has been used by Canadian Olympic Speed Skaters and elite athletes. It helps push through exhaustion and the pain of lactic buildup.

Fatigue Management Plan: At the first sign of fatigue, discomfort, or negative self-talk, cycle through the following 3 problems. This technique helps create a state of ‘focused awareness’. It helps you concentrate the mind on what the body needs to run strong in the moment.

  1. Technical Problem: Check in with how you are running–posture, stride, arm swing. Do you need to relax your shoulders, loosen your grip, breathe into a muscle that’s tight or cramping? Do that. Additional idea is to add imagery, e.g., a deer running effortlessly–create an animal visual for you to see how you should be running.
  2. Tactical Problem: Ask yourself how you should run this section. Should you pass? Do you need water or fuel? Do it.
  3. Mental or Emotional Problem: Decide what positive self-talk, or imagery you need right now. (Leith highly recommends tapping into the power of animal imagery.) Do it. Use it. (This is the imagery and positive mantras you prepared before the race. Check out my previous post for more on Running Mantras.)

Working through these 3 problems usually diverts your mind from focusing on the fatigue or discomfort. If it doesn’t, cycle through all 3 again.

Credits: Leith Drury, PhD, Sports Psychologist and Margaret Webb, author of Older Stronger Faster

Today’s Tip: Wrightsocks

My Blog is free of ads. Nevertheless I highly recommend double-layer construction Wrightsocks. They work. Here’s the scoop:  Wrightsocks have a double layer construction. Friction created by a shoe rubs onto another layer of sock rather than onto the skin beneath it. ‘The Wrightsock company is so confident their socks will prevent blisters that they offer a “blister-free guarantee”.’

Thanks for reading, Happy running, Cheerios ~Linda

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