To run and race your best it’s critical you’ve got the right mindset. Dr. Jim Afremow has made it his mission to help runners and athletes of all sports hone their mental training. Just as important and the physical workouts, an athlete’s mind can create a champion or turn into one’s own worst enemy. I wanted interview Dr. Afremow both because I respect his body of work and level of expertise and also because, let’s be honest, the psychology of our sport in straight-up fascinating! Often time elite athletes have trouble putting into words exactly how they get into gamer mode…so read on to hear a mental game’s coach put words to the ability:
I grew up in a house where my mom HATED to see things go to waste. We were a household who left-over’ed and if we didn’t clean our plates we could usually count on Mommy-O to finish them off. She WAS a runner after all. The thing was, it killed my mother to put food in the trash or down the disposal.
Everyone wants to run faster, right? Part of getting faster is of course doing the shorter repeats; one must build that explosive power of course. BUT, there’s another part to getting faster and it’s training your BRAIN and nervous system to respond at a quicker rate.
A runner can’t utilize that explosive power to run faster without the nerve and synapse networks first being created to ‘tell’ your foot to move faster off the ground. Isn’t science and the brain cool?
For runners, finding that perfect taper and method to peak right sure can be difficult! Which sounds kinda crazy because taking the taper at face value, one could think, “Well, I just need to cut back. I’ve done all the work, so let’s just coast on until race day and wind up with fresh as daisy legs!”
Good things can come in threes, but then again plenty of awesome things come in twos and fours. Runners have two legs, four laps make that perfect mile…though do those four laps REALLY feel all that perfect when doing mile repeats?? Brain: “FOUR laps, let’s call a mile one lap!” Juuust kidding.
Because let’s be honest, running withdrawals hurt a h*ll of a lot more than the injury.
For all those healthy enough to run…be THANKFUL. Never forget that, on the days you really aren’t jazzed to suit up and start, put it in perspective. Would you rather be chained to the cross trainer?
A headline caught my eye recently: “Be a better runner without running.” *About face* Now I respect the news outlet that ran the article but the snark in me can’t resist thinking, “This kind of thing belongs in Runner’s World next to the column ‘How to get faster in your sleep!’”
Now my younger brother’s first love is rugby, second is football, but for the three weeks between seasons he decided to do track! Wahoo…I was stoked!! I’m also in awe of the fact that he doesn’t do any speed-work and then just blitzes those 400′s and 200′s like they’re nothing.
The mystery is solved as to where all of the fast twitch muscle fiber genes in the family went. Clearly all were saved and concentrated into the youngest Chock sibling. Oh and I guess he stole my coordination genes too.