Training the mind

As I sit here typing away (with ice on my buttocks) I contemplate the week that was. There was no moping, there were no tears, nor were there questions of failure. It’s been a week since I last tried running, two weeks since I successfully completed a run. But unlike injuries of past, this one did not send me spinning down the rabbit’s hole of depression.

Sure, following last Monday’s failed run, there were a few moments of disappointment and anxiety, but honestly, those moments lasted all of a half an hour. In fact, my last blog post, the one all about suckage, was written in my head in that half hour while sitting on a bench outside. By the time I reached the door to the loft, though, those feelings had almost all but dissipated.

And yet, I’m pretty sure this has been the most painful, or at the very least the second most painful, injury I have endured. (The ankle stress fractures really sucked!) But this time, there was something in me, something that refused to give up, something that believed in my ability to overcome this injury. Not once did I believe this was the end of my training for the season. Not once did I think I would not be running my half marathon goal race in September. Not once did I contemplate throwing in the training towel.

Which brings me to what I’ve been doing for the last several months: Training my mind in tandem with my legs and core. I’ve been reading books – A Life Without Limits (amazing!); Eat & Run (inspiring!); and now My Life On the Run (still too early to comment.) – magazine articles, online studies, and I’ve also been talking to several runners in my life who inspire me every single day.


This training has mostly been centred around race day; training my mind not to give up when the race becomes more difficult, to keep going despite fatigue, belly issues, etc., to push hard straight through to the finish line. To refuse failure.

But the thing is, everything I’ve read is just as useful for injury as it is for race day. Triathlete Chrissie Wellington pushed through extreme pain in 2011 to claim her fourth Ironman World Championship title – just 14 days after a major cycling crash that left her with a pulled pectoral muscle and several other injuries! Ultra marathoner Scott Jurek ran an insane 100 miles, for 26 hours and 8 minutes, with torn ligaments in his ankle! They did not give up.

Nor shall I.

Tomorrow morning, I try my hand at running again…

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