One of the most fascinating discoveries on this adventure was found within. It's me! Or shall I say, my mind. I will admit that I did not fully realize the power of the mind - or at least the trickery. When I first broke through the "I can't" barrier I was aware that it was the mind in play, but I didn't know that it was just the beginning of a long friendship. Luckily early on in my initial research I came across some very interesting articles about this subject so when it started happening I was aware - and prepared.
Let's say that my first awareness was the belief that I could not run a half marathon. It was huge to break through that. Then what I noticed was the constant pop ups of apparent barriers, or "reasons" that I couldn't. When I would start a training run there would be all kinds of reasons that I should not go, should slow down or should stop.
The thought patterns have such clear personality that they have become a voice. I call it the mind-voice and it is so convincing...
You can't run that far.
You're too out of shape.
You run too slow.
You're too old.
Everyone can tell you're not really a runner because you're heavy. You should stop.
This is too hard, you should stop.
How will you ever run 13 miles when you're struggling with 2 miles.
You're hungry, you're going to get faint, you should stop.
Why do you even want to run a half marathon, it's stupid.
It's way to early to be awake, go back to bed.
It's hard to breath, you should stop.
That stitch could be the sign of a heart attack! You should stop.
That last one, by the way, is by far my favorite. It actually made me laugh out loud!
Luckily, I also have a coach-voice! Coach-voice is calm, quiet and steady. Not loud, not even pushy. Just a voice that says...
Maybe you can.
You can stop if it really is a heart attack, but keep going and see if the stitch goes away.
Just keep running for now.
It is hard, but it is possible.
You're doing the right thing.
Keep going, for now.
Of course it's hard, you've never gone this far before, good job.
It's okay to slow down, but don't stop, yet.
If you need to you can stop, but for now keep putting one foot in front of the other.
One of the articles said that the mind will not let the body give an all out 100% effort. That's it's job, to protect. And that we must, on purpose, train into discomfort. Otherwise the power of the mind will be too strong on race day. Author Dawn Dais talks about how she listens to music (and even books on tape!) on her long runs just to keep the mind occupied. I do certain things in training to teach my body, but I now realize that I am also training my mind.