Lesson 2: The Mental Tug-of-War
So early on in the book 80/20 Running, by Matt Fitzgerald, he noted that most people would benefit from starting 80/20 running with a “slow week”.
If you want a challenge, this is the workout for you. For seven days in a row I’m going to run as slow and steady as possible while gradually increasing my duration each day!
Not only did it help me focus on what I was doing, but also helped to break the habit of running in that same old way! I had formed the habit of always running on my limit so my “natural pace” was considerably faster than I had any business doing on a regular basis. This naturally lead to inconsistency and running and limited long term improvement.
The slow week is not just about changing how you run during this time either. The idea is for you to change your mindset and approach toward all aspects of running around these principles. One example is addressing your relationship with pain and discomfort when it comes to fitness. So I want you to ask yourself:
What is your relationship with pain/discomfort with your fitness?
For me, I grew up with a very competitive mentality which made me treat every gym class jog as a race. Exercise to me was about pushing hard because the harder I pushed myself the better chance I thought I had of winning. Consequently pain (but really more discomfort) felt necessary if I wanted to improve.
My logical process was simply:
1: The hardest road is the best road
2: The painful road is the the hardest road
3: Therefore, the painful road is the best road (no pain, no gain)
So consequently, the idea of easy running was very hard for me to understand. I thought easy running was for "losers" because the only way to get better is by pushing yourself hard.
The more I ran, however, the more I started realizing that when it comes to exercise there are no winners or losers! There are just people who put in work and those who don't. The same goes with training/running where the challenge is to put in the work day in and day out, rain or shine, energize or fatigued. It’s not about how fast you think you should run, how fast other people are running as they pass you (or even walk past you at times). This is your journey, your challenge, your marathon. You are responsible for how you view the world and what you do with that worldview.
Running is not about beating your personal best time or running against other people. A runner's goal should always be to improve themselves and become the best version of themself regardless if they have won races in high school, as longs their training goals are still achievable with what you want out life now!
If there's one thing I've learned it’s that if we can train ourselves mentally as well as physically every time we open that door and our feet hit the ground.
Next post I will talking about the effects of training intensity and how that can impact training volume.
Take it easy!
Click on the link if you want to pick up a copy of 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald today!