Ever had one of those workouts where you feel like crap at the beginning, but you persevere, and it ends up being a great workout? I had one today on my lunch run. I’m pretty sure much of it is in your head.
As I hit the trail I was thinking about how I had recently been ripped off with an online purchase (never received the goods), and how I should respond. 10 minutes later I was struggling and found myself walking.
I recognized what was happening and shifted mental gears. I looked down at my soaking shirt. It was from my first ultra (which was a real struggle!), and reminded myself if I got through that, I sure as hell could get through a few miles at lunch. Besides, I am planning to do another ultra in a couple of months so I’d better start behaving like a freakin runner.
I focused on form and treading lightly and quickly. I decided to run hard up the (short) hills and recover on the descents, even walk if I had to. I did. No problem, that was the deal. And if it was going to be a struggle, so be it, I wasn’t going to mope about it and shuffle along, I was at least going to put up a damn fight and run with conviction.
AS I settled in to a steady pace I set the goal of making some plans for Velo Logic and growing the audience. In the last half hour my mind wandered a bit and I formulated an idea for a new product. I got excited.
Then I realized I was rolling along at a decent pace, and feeling strong. What a turnaround.
That’s happened to me many times, on and off the bike, often when I start out riding the trainer; and it’s probably happened to you. I’m sure if I had continued to seethe at the thought of getting ripped off, my run would have stayed a painful, run/walk ordeal, and I would never have developed the idea for some new stuff for Velo Logic.
The mind is our most powerful tool. We fuel our bodies, often we fail to do the same for our minds.
My advice… when you have one of those rides, don’t give in to that first impression. Maybe its legit, often it isn’t. Recognize that the sluggishness could evaporate in 10-20 min, and don’t quit.
Shift mental gears, think of a time when you had a great ride, and know you will have one again. Think of an upcoming event, perhaps a competitor you’d dearly like to beat, and imagine him on your wheel. He ain’t going home with his tail between his legs, are you?
And even if it turns out to be a hard, grinding ride, it’s still made you stronger, tougher, especially mentally as you’ve flexed and worked out your mental muscle.
One thinker said it well, “Ideas move man. Man moves the world.” It’s true, what we think has a huge impact on us, on a ride, in sport in general, in life, and throughout the sweep of history, ideas drive progress… or undermine and enslave.
Next time you train, enlist your brain.