Mental discipline is one of the toughest, but most crucial, aspects of any sport. So important, in fact, that psychology made up an entire chapter in my RRCA coaching certification training. These lessons really resonated for me, both in running and in life…
Some runs (just like some days) are better than others. There are runs that we’d like to forget, and there are runs that we hope we never forget. When you find yourself having one of the great ones where everything clicks — your body feels great, your stride is just right, your mind is clear, and your heart is free — come up with a word that captures this feeling.
For me, I think of feeling the “float”. I still remember mile 13 of the Chicago Marathon. I’ve never felt more free, more calm, more empowered, and more like myself than I did in that moment. So much so that it carried me through the rest of the race. When I turned toward the finish, I actually didn’t want it to be over. Every time I’m having a bad run, thinking of the “float” takes me right back.
For others, maybe you need an extra boost at the end. Think “kick” or “push” to get through those last miles.
There’s no magic here. No one else has to know. No one else has to understand. It only has to make sense to you. Then, the next time you’re in the midst of one of those awful runs, remember your word. Your frame of mind really can conquer matter. And, even if doesn’t, at least you’ll be reminded of why you keep doing it!