Running requires a lot of mental strength.
When you’re injured, you need patience, and a lot of it.
When you run a race and you don’t achieve the result which you expected, you may feel disappointment, as if your body has let you down.
This is strange, because most runners (including myself) are 100% amateurs, and run for fun. There is no money in the game, and our our income does not depend on it.
Where does the pressure come from ? For example, when you don’t feel like running, you have to find out where mr Discipline is hiding, because if you wait too long for your next training session, you need to start from scratch again, and that’s not so much fun, usually.
As such, “discipline” and “fun” are a bit of a chicken / egg problem, which one came first ? From a lexicographical point of view, it’s a draw:
“When somebody asks you “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”, you can question what they mean by chicken and what they mean by egg, but you can’t offer a conclusive lexicographical answer, both date from the Old English period so we’ll call it a draw !” (Source: the Oxford Dictionaries – http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2014/10/chicken-or-egg)
From time to time, I tell that story to myself. Today I read a great quote, i.e. that being too busy does not exist.
I like that idea.
Automatically, the topic of mental strength, brings us to mindfulness.
Great reading, and warmly recommended in this respect: “Running with the mind of Meditation“, by Sakyong Mipham.
All info on: http://runningmind.org/blog.
In short, our thoughts and our restless mind (full of anxiety etc.) can be compared to a wild horse. Our mind needs to tame it. Thought in this respect: “The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness”.
Also, a lot of attention goes to breathing.
This is also pointed out in Runners World’s view on the matter, i.e., in “Four Ways to Build Mental Toughness“:
“The breath is both a release valve and a trigger for your nervous system. When you breathe in a short and hungry way through your mouth, you are telling your body that you are in fight-or-flight mode. On the flip side, when you breathe in through your nose, deeply into your belly, and out through your mouth, this has a calming effect on the body and mind. This kind of breathing takes time and training to learn. Slow your breathing and sync it to your steps while you run.”
To end with, a last piece of advise from the Twitter parody account of Bill Murray, which I liked at lot :
“Always be yourself, unless you can be batman.
Then always be batman.”