Monday, February 7, 2011

Quieting the Intruders

Timothy Noakes' Law 12 in The Lore of Running suggests, "It may be that success in running is ultimately determined not so much by training the body as by training the mind." Speaking for myself, I truly believe this to be true. For nearly two years, I've been experiencing improvement in my overall fitness level. I started out barely making it through 10 minutes of a 45 minute workout DVD. At the end of my first 90 day period, that same DVD was cake. Then I started running. I worked my way to three miles and completed my first 5k. I wasn't in love with running, but I liked the health improvements I was experiencing because of it. After the 5k, I turned to training for a sprint tri. While training, I realized I absolutely love cycling and began cycling as many days a week as I could, racking up the miles. It didn't take long for me to dream of finishing a century ride. For some reason, though, I still want to be a runner, and running continues to torment me even though I'm in much better shape now than I was way back when I started. When I read Noakes' Law 12, I admitted that for me, my problem with running is all mental.  

So as I ran this morning, I made a conscious effort to keep my head and shoulders relaxed, and to keep my mind focused on the running, not letting all kinds of extraneous thoughts creep in. When negative feelings about last evening's swim tried to wriggle their way in, I brought myself back to center by telling myself the swim was over, and it had actually gone well with no calves cramping, no feet cramping, and a lot less rest between laps. When worries over having everything ready for classes today surfaced, I gently pushed them aside, telling them go away, classes are all set. Student work had been read and responded to. Handouts are ready to copy once I arrive to work. Classes will be good. When the notion to stop after three miles tried to take over the plan to run five, I zoned in on the students outside the large windows, bundled up against the cold as they walked to class. Some wore hoodies. Some wore parkas. Almost all had boots on to trudge through the snow. I did manage to get the planned five miles in, and I did manage to stay focused more often than not, but the effort to quiet the intruders was taxing.

I'm sure the battle will continue, but I'm up to the challenge of getting beyond this love/hate relationship I have with running. One day, it will simply be a love relationship.


Natalia said...

Ah, Tim Noakes. I love his book - in fact, he was the coach at my undergrad uni, and still runs coaching clinics in CT. You seem to be on a very good roll here, and it seems that each time you go out, you get stronger. Yay for you! You are doing so great!

JK said...

Thanks, Natalia. Very cool that you and Noakes were at the same uni. His book has given me much to think about. I'm really enjoying it.

Staci said...

Glad you enjoying his book - it's a great go-to for me when something crops up. I'd forgotten his laws so thanks for the reminders.
If its any concillation, it took me almost a year to really love running and that happened mostly because I took off my shoes, had no pain and started to enjoy the experience with no pressure to achieve anythin.

JK said...

I'm so intrigued by the barefoot running. I've heard several people swear by it, saying the pains they experienced when wearing shoes disappeared, allowing them to truly enjoy running. I've never had pain of any kind, but I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to be a better, faster runner. There's really no reason for me to be faster; I'm never going to be an elite athlete. So that's what I'm working on--running just because I can.