I get a lot of questions from my athletes: what do I think of this running form technique, and what about
adding in this workout, or what type of running shoes should I wear?
These are all valid questions, but one of the more important aspects of training is much more
nebulous and not addressed as often. The mental side of training is just as important as the physical
side of training.
What do I mean by the "mental side of training?"
Our minds create background conversations that can directly affect our fitness gains and goals as
well as other parts of our lives. Let me give you some examples that may sound familiar:
When you think about signing up for an event, does your heart start to pound? When you are in
those tough moments during training or a race, does your brain panic? Do you immediately think
you can’t do THIS (whatever this is) or even quit? Do you not come to group events because you
worry you won't be able to keep up? Do you feel so nervous about a tough workout that you don’t even try?
Laird Hamilton says it well: “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”
My goal as a coach is to teach you to take these “rough spots” and “background conversations” and
turn them into positive tools you can use. I want to reframe them to show you that these rough spots
are valuable in and of themselves; in fact, they are an absolute necessity to help you further your
goals and get you through your goal races and events.
When your Saturday run has you doing a bunch of this:
It can spark a debate over the wisdom of running versus walking when you’re heading up the steep stuff. And in Seattle, we are lucky enough to have a lot of the steep stuff! Should you always run up hills and stairs? Or are there times when walking or fast hiking are the better choice?
Sometimes the answer depends on what your goals are for a particular training run or race. Are you building strength on hill repeats? Are you working to understand what your perceived exertion is when your run a hill? Or do want to use your available energy most efficiently? Other times, you may just need to listen to what your body’s telling you.