Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's all in my head

This past weekend I ran 10 miles.

It was the 3rd time in my life I've done a 10 mile training run.

The first time was in Oct of 2007 when I was training for my first half marathon. My friend Katie rode her bike alongside me to keep me company and give me sports drink as needed... but mostly to help give me the moral support I needed to get thru the run. And again, last June I did another 10 miles with Amy while training for the half marathon, and again it seemed like "whoa, this is the big one."

For both of those 10-milers, they were the longest training runs I'd do in prep for my race. So it was a big deal. I knew if I could do 10, I could complete my goal of 13 miles.

This past weekend, however, the 10 mile run wasn't a big deal. It was a mere step towards the goal, nowhere near the longest training run I'll do. So in my head, I didn't make it out to be anything special. And it wasn't. It was easy. I didn't feel like I had to schedule nothing else for the rest of the day. I wasn't overly tired or sore afterwards (unlike the last two 10 mile training runs I've done). It was just another Sunday run. No big deal.

So what's different? Am I in better shape? Maybe a little, but if so, not much. Was the run route easier? Nah. Was it that I had it in my head that the 10 miles wasn't a big deal. Yep. That was totally it.

Distance running makes me realize how much I can change reality by changing my perception of it. If I tell myself it's going to be a hard run, it's going to be hard. If I tell myself, though, that it's no big deal, just a nice long fun run... that's what it turns out to be.

The same applies for other aspects of life. Giving work presentations, for example. If I get myself psyched out, thinking "this is a turbo-important meeting; everyone's going to be critical of me; I hope I don't screw up and say the wrong thing; what if they ask questions at the end that I can't answer..." then I typically don't do as well as if I walk in with the attitude of "well, I'm just going to give this a shot and hope everyone appreciates that I'm trying hard, and hopefully they have some good ideas and compelling questions for me at the end."

It's really empowering to realize that I can control a situation by controlling my perception of it. Of course there are always external factors that are beyond my control. But there's a lot I do have a say over.

So this weekend I'll be doing a nice, easy 12 mile run. By myself. It'll be just shy of half the distance of my goal. No big deal, right?

1 comment:

Brent, Amy and Three said...

How was the 12 miler this weekend? I had an awful time....more training....and MORE WATER!!! Lesson learned!

-Amy