I actually made it out of bed early this morning to go for a run. It was touch and go, particularly because I turned the alarm off rather than putting it on snooze but just after 6am we left the house and headed out on our usual route past our sheep, down the golf course and along the canal.We went slow and it felt like a comfortable sort of pace. Leg issues remain. It niggles without being painful as such and it isn’t getting worse. It actually feels better running than walking! I took the walk breaks out once we’d turned round and I think we managed to go just a little faster than last time but it didn’t feel like we were pushing – it was just nice to be out. There’s a very calming sort of stillness at the that time in the morning. Just as I was about to comment on the absence of wildlife other than ducks, a heron flew out of a tree to our right and headed down the canal in the direction we’d just come from. It was nice to see ‘him’ (I don’t know if it was male of female – how do you tell?).
Anyway, after my meltdown on Saturday and my decision to keep going, I was looking for tips and tricks to stay mentally stronger. Now, I am not a mantra sort of person, I like clever little quotes and sayings but they tend to be silly or academic – I’ve always found the motivating or the soppy stuff kind of nauseating. Well, there is some research which I read about in a Runners Wolrd magazine I think (I could check but I am far too lazy to get off the sofa) which suggests that having a mantra to repeat to yourself really works. In addition there is also something about seeing words/phrases all the time that makes me remember. I have tried this with language learning – sticking post-it notes on everything imaginable to try and learn the spanish word for it as well as sticking up phrases so I see them all the time. I just wondered whether I can trick my brain into holding onto some positive messages when that ‘you can’t do this’ voice kicks in. I have accepted that the voice will come but I need to learn to argue with it (I’m a lawyer, I can have an argument in an empty room – how hard can this be…)
When we went for the run on Sunday it was the first time I really used a mantra when running. It is dead simple but it fits into a rhythm which means it also helps focus and calm my huffing and puffing. I just count 1-and-2-and-3-and-4, I can do this, I can do this, 1-and-2-and…(oh dear writing that down makes it sounds so cringe worthy and embarassing). It sort of works. It hasn’t really been tested yet because it hasn’t yet got really tough but I used it both Sunday and this morning to keep the rhythm on the hills (both down and up).
As for tricking my brain… I went online to look for some of the motivational mantras/sayings and to try and find some I could sort of identify with and which I thought might help. There are loads that really wouldn’t work for me because they’re all about faster/fitter/stronger which I just don’t get. I printed them out and was going to find places to stick them up. Well, when I got home yesterday Kath had cut them out and found places to stick them – where they kind of made sense. How amazing is that?! The pictures scattered through this blog post are of the mantras stuck up on our front and back doors, the fridge and various bits of furniture. Do they work? Who knows. For now they are making me smile and partly laugh at myself for even trying this but there was a point this morning where I was beginning to struggle a little and the ‘I can’t do it voice’ was starting to get vocal and a few of the pictures and their corresponding mantras flashed through my brain.
I’ll let you know how I get on but for now just remember that ‘however slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch’ (Thanks to my lovely friend Donna for posting that on my FB timeline very early on in the running journey – it is the one I come back to most often!)