Let’s talk about runners, pressure, stress, and how to be faster by just relaxing. I recently wrote an article for Competitor.com: “Run Relaxed to Your Next Personal Best”.
The thing is, it’s often times that runners WANT to run faster so badly that they end up shooting themselves in the foot. The stress of TRYING so hard is the very thing that winds up slowing them down. A runner then gets even more frustrated, TRIES harder, and usually gets slower. It’s a vicious cycle but typically one that every runner at some point gets stuck in.
Getting unstuck is a lot harder, because telling someone to ‘try less’ isn’t quite right; more correctly you need to ‘strain less’. But learning how to ‘try’ without the ‘strain’ is a complicated matter…it all comes back to that runner brain and the mindset you’re running with.
What a runner in angst WANTING to run faster has to do is, basically, stop wanting it so freaking hard. Crazy, right? Let me explain the chain of events:
1) Runner is worried about a tough workout. They take those nerves into overdrive and cross the line into ruminating about paces, splits, etc.
2) Rumination turns into STRESS. They’re so wound up about the workout or race, they doubt if they’re capable, they worry they’ll fail.
3) Nerves, turn to stress, and then to PRESSURE. They load themselves up with so much pressure, it’s kind of like they are putting a weight-vest on themselves.
Being so worried and stressed is the kiss of death. It’s hard to describe WHERE the line is between enough nerves to propel your performances forward and then too much so that it kills your performances, so we often look for external cues.
1) Run Relaxed: This applies to form and physically ensuring that you’re not harboring extra tension. The article describes those four major points and how to relieve that tension. Often time, shaking out your tight shoulders or jaw acts as a ‘reset’ button and can get you back on track.
2) Mentally Relax: Usually it’s a build-up of stress that leads to over-thinking and stressing over every workout or run. If you get to that point think of ways to get back to having fun with your running, suggestions HERE.
3) Stay in Check: Before you get to the point of freaking out before each workout catch yourself early. Practice running where your mind is on keeping good form, staying smooth and strong, repeating mantras [I am strong], and staying confident in yourself as a runner. This line of thinking sets you up to ‘try’ the right amount because you’re not consciously telling yourself to TRY.
It sounds so backwards, but next time you start berating yourself over a missed split STOP. Take a deep breathe, try a ‘reset’ technique, and don’t try so flipping hard. RELAX and RUN.
1) When was a time when you were trying so hard you got in your own way?
2) How did you get yourself back on track and ‘try’ the right amount?