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Training your Brain

The list of physical benefits from long is a long list. You do not have to look too far to find positive physiological reasons more than just merely the physical reasons. The responses the brain has to physical activity is tremendous. Some positive effects include more brain connectivity, improved cognitive function, greater chemical messenger changes, new neuron growth, more regulated emotions, and a boost in your ability to learn. Our mind and bodies benefit from running; however, is it possible that our running can benefit from our brains?

If you had to guess, how much of running is physical and how much is mental? Even if the answer is a mere 1% mental then it is imperative to learn how our running performance can benefit through mental strength. In a normal training plan, the plan is often structured to have harder days, easier days, and often one longer day. If a run is more physically demanding, it becomes much more difficult mentally. It is also true that when we feel good, we generally run well. How can we turn a difficult run day into a better day and what is your mental training strategy?

Let's consider these steps:

Find a Routine

Practicing difficult training scenarios mentally prepare you for the challenges you face on a race day. Having a routine with structured hard days that are specific to your race may calm some pre race jitters. Part of this technique is recognizing what is a superstition and what is a routine. A routine is something that truly prepares your mind and body for running. The way you fuel your body with nutrition and your warm up routine.

Leave the negative thoughts home

Our minds are only able to handle one issue at a time. Things can be as simple as replacing a negative though with a positive thought to ease your mind. Each self-destructive comment should have a positive comment to counter it. When you are running take your negative thoughts and push them aside to make room for a positive thought.

Repeat your running mantra

Using a favorite quote, singing your favorite upbeat song, or having a couple of words you really like. comes in handy when running gets hard. Repeating these words in your mind can help you gain the strength that you need. Sometimes it’s a simple reminder as to why you are out there that day. O

Turn your weaknesses into your strengths

Do you struggle to get out the door in the winter? Do you hate hilly roads? Do you dread the CNY wind? Find a way to change those weaknesses into something you can enjoy. For example, “I love the strength I will obtain from the resistance of running hills or running in the wind. I am only becoming a better runner.” A slight twist in your perspective may make all the difference. If you have a hard time doing these things it might be time to find a running buddy, make a plan, set a time, get a coach, pick a race, or treat yourself when you succeed. Once you get into a routine, you’ll start to see your goals getting closer and closer.

The psychology of the sport of running is something that cannot be taken lightly or for granted. Hopefully these ideas will help you become mentally stronger so you can continue to become physically stronger.

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