Ruling Your Fear: Running Like a Gamer, Fear be Da**ed

Let’s talk fear. Okay, I’ll break the silence and let you in on a dirty little secret: EVERY runner has fear. Regardless of how fast they are, how much they’ve accomplished, the Gold medals sitting in those shiny cases…every, single, runner has fear.

Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that you WANT something. You have goals, you want to hit them and you’re scared/nervous/anxious because if you fall up short…then what? Fear merely proves you have goals that MATTER to you.
running motivation art
With running there is also the fear of the pain. BAM. I just touched on the TWO big taboos runners are never to speak of in the span of less than 150 words: fear and pain. Knowing that pain is going to be there, that you’re going to have to be mentally tough and push through that pain, that you’re NOT going to let that pain break you…that’s also where a large part of a runner’s fear comes from. And it also explains why, every runner, regardless of how good they are, be they professional or back of the packer will harbor some ‘fear’…every runner goes through pain. It’s part of our sport.

Now the thing is, the big difference between elite runners who race like ballers and every other runner who races like a gamer and the runners who implode is: the gamers don’t let the FEAR rule them. Gamers rule the fear. They turn the fear around, use that energy more as nervous-excited rather than nervous-fearful/worried. See the difference? It’s all in the mind.

Not letting fear rule you is difficult, even the most experience runners go through periods where they may struggle and need to get back on track. And to be honest, there’s always going to be a point in a race or workout where you’re riding a fine line between keeping your fear in check, “Am I seriously going to believe I can make it at THIS pace for THIS much longer?”

Combat The Fear

* Find Your Confidence: Not letting fear rule you means you push those doubts aside with reminders of why you ARE a gamer. Think of past workouts, know that you’re mentally tough, know you’ve survived plenty of times when you’re mind began to doubt your ability…and you proved that silly mind wrong.
* Find Your Mojo: Tap into that confidence and a part of that is just realizing WHY you’re doing something. Without the ‘why’ as a driving force it’s easy to just let the fear take over and not give a flip over the outcome. Set some goals and know WHY you’re willing fight through this fear and OWN it.
* Relax: The thing with running and pain and then running through that pain, if you try and ‘fight’ it you usually wind up running slower. Kinda like you just have to ‘relax’ into the pain, let it come, than do your best to just numb it out. If this makes sense? To put this into more ‘physical’ terms, a good way to describe it is to just make sure your form and body is relaxed, you’re not clenching your jaw or fists or scrunching your shoulders up near your neck. Relax your body, relax your mind, don’t ‘try too hard’ and don’t ‘fight it’.
#epicfailWIN picture
Everyone has fear, and that spans across all areas in life, but I’ve always found the best way to rule your fear is to DO what’s scary and prove that you lived through it. The more times you get through it, the less scary it becomes because you’ve built up your confidence.

I’ll tell you what helps me, and I’m be brutally honest, I say it like it is to myself, “Stop being a freaking idiot, just effing DO it.” Now, usually I’m not fearful of workouts, but I ultimately realize that the fear is stupid. Just effing do it would certainly apply across the board though, and with running sometimes that tough love is what you need. ;)

As for running, you can never let fear of workouts or racing turn into a monster: 1) because that sucks any fun out of running in the first place 2) you’ll implode in the workouts or races. Rather, just STOP thinking so much and freaking start. Just get going, relax, and roll with it…fear be da**ed.

The reason I feel it important to SHARE that EVERY RUNNER has fear is because you shouldn’t feel like a weakling just for having fear. You’re only a ‘weakling’ if you let that FEAR rule YOU. If that’s the case, don’t lose hope because you can always turn that around…tap into your confidence and race like the GAMER you want to be. ;)

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I wanted to do a post on fear because it came up in a really great article by Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running. Read “7 Quick Lessons from my 16th Place Finish at the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon” because it’s filled with tons of important recovery tips for runners. The bit on doubts is what triggered my idea for this post. SR is a great resource for runners, so go, stay and check out all his awesome reads!

I also talk a lot more on the mental side of running and tips to tune out that pain in my ebook “Effective Mental Strategy: Race better by out-thinking your brain”
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1) Fear is ever-present in running and in life. What is the last things you had fear or anxiety about?
2) How did you deal with that fear in a positive, GAMER way? Or did you find that fear won that time?
3) The last time fear won, how did you learn from that experience and make it so you can overcome that fear going forward?
Yo, we all lose sometimes, it’s just important to learn and make that a productive ‘loss’.

My Issues With ‘Fitness’

I don’t visit many fitness sites. Not because I’m a runner snob or purist, but because I don’t like the ‘business’ side of ‘fitness’. Those who instantly ‘get’ what I’m talking about separates the ‘fitness’ minded from the FITNESS minded.

I’m not the running riddler, but the reason I don’t go to lots of fitness sites is because I really don’t like the hypocrisy of it all. I’m a straight-shooter, telling it like it is, kinda gal. ’12 Minutes to FLAT ABs’…’Workout in 8mins or less!’
runner lies
EIGHT minutes? Seriously? I don’t even consider 8 minutes enough time for a proper warm-up. So I guess I should define what a workout is. I’m not talking about a ‘follow-up’ core routine, stretching, weight circuit. For a runner or anyone who is truly FITNESS minded some of those routines can certainly be on the quicker side, maybe all you need IS 8 minutes because you busted your butt doing 800′s and cardio earlier.

When I’m talking workout I mean EVERYTHING. Start to finish, if you do double sessions, those minutes count as rollover. Newsflash: the ‘fitness’ celebrities touting those ’8 minutes is ALL you need!’ workouts, they for DARN sure don’t do THEIR workouts in only 8 minutes.

It’s the business that peeves me. If you’re going to tell people what to do, be upfront. Yes, I know the MAJORITY of Americans DO NOT want to hear they’ve got to bust a sweat doing cardio for at least 30 minutes and follow it up with some core and ab work. Waaaa…I’d rather be watching the Kardashian! Well, you could do both running on a treadmill…haha.

So the 12 and 8 minutes things sell, they are hot keywords, they attract the masses like flies to a bush post runner emergency dive. The same also applies to the warped food pictures and supposed meals ‘fitness’ websites promote. Have you seen the Instagram pictures of a scant sliver of chicken with a side of five sliced cucumbers? If that was my meal I’d wind up eating my foot. Actually on those, I just don’t understand, is that seriously all they eat? But who knows, who really cares (well, actually tons of people do…it comes back to the business thing I guess)…but the fact that it really makes me question brings me right back to my biggest issue…
running fitspo pinterest
I’m a straight-shooter, I like to be upfront. I expect and appreciate that from my readers and everyone else, so I like to do the same. If you want to run your best, if you want to race to PR’s…because da** THAT feels good, it takes work. Lots.of.work.

It will hurt. Workouts will make you wonder why in the flip you have this sick fascination with pushing yourself. Your brain will even try to lie to you and say you really don’t care, that if you just stopped you’d be okay with that. But those are LIES.

Running tests you more mentally than it will physically. Well, maybe a tie, lactic acid sure does hurt physically. But that’s the POINT. Anything worth it takes work. It isn’t done in 8 minutes or less. It isn’t ‘easy, painless, quick’ or any of the other keywords picked up by Google by the ‘fitness’ masses.

We’re runners, or if you totally get what I’m talking about, we’re FITNESS minded. We want to bust our own @$$es because the rewards good… eight minutes be da**ed!

1) What are the majority of websites and blogs that you visit?
2) What is your definition of a workout?
3) What’s your take on the Instagram foodie reverse porn? I think the follow-up snap should be them wolfing down the half gallon of ice cream at 12 midnight. ;)

Running and Chasing Moonlight

I’ve been doing some runs at night. Just me and the moon. Don’t worry, Runners, the light will find you out there. It likes to follow magic.

running in the dark
Not to spoil the motivational moment but in the spirit of keeping it real I have to add there WERE some other things out there besides me and Mr. Moon: a crap-load of gnats and I’m pretending I didn’t inhale about 900, shadows that made me wonder if they were branches that I should dodge, and then some actual branches I didn’t quite dodge but managed to stay on my feet. Take THAT klutzy Cait Gene! ;)

Keep running towards your goals…gnats and branches be d**ned…don’t let them spoil the moments. ;)

ezzere shirts movie

1) Last time you ran in the dark?
2) Do you like running in the dark?
3) Do you also feel like you’re going faster in the dark regardless of whether you actually are or not? The Garmin tells no lies. ;)

Sunday Morning Running Motivation

Running presents a very simple goal…

running motivation art
Keep pushing through to that other side my Runner Friends. It makes us feel alive! :)

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Get motivated by some awesome elite runners and check out my latest article on RunBlogRun — A Community of Beasts: There’s roaring in Seattle

More Running Motivation Art Posts

More Motivation Posts

Posts with Racing Tips
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1) Did you race this weekend?
2) How did you stay mentally tough in your last race or workout?
3) The last time you weren’t so mentally tough, why, and what are you going to do to be tougher next time?

True Running Fitspo…

Honestly, Pinterest and Instagram, please get the message that TRUE running motivation and inspiration comes not from how are training makes us look but rather what it enables us to ACHIEVE.
running fitspo pinterest
That’s as far as I’ll let my little mini rant go. But I DO have say how I laugh at some of the ridiculous picture/quote pairs that pop up. Saw this gem the other day:

“If my fat isn’t going to my boobs then I want nothing to do with it.”
I mean, seriously?

Me, I’m far more inspired and motivated by runners getting out there, sweating it out, busting their @$$es for PR’s.

Chasing endorphins is far more fun than wishing I had more fat for my boobs. ;)

1) What’s one of the funnier Pinterest/Insta fitspo’s you’ve seen?
2) What’s one of the better, really motivating ones you’ve seen?
3) What did you do today that could be pinned and used as inspiration for others?

The Launch of Ezzere Running

My BIG NEWS: I started Ezzere, a brand for my running shirts!!

ezzere running shirts

My mission in starting Ezzere is to inspire runners, make you dream goals big enough to scare you, and GO for them! Then, keep you looking good at the same time. Look good, feel good. ;)

Check out my new site Ezzere.com and help me spread the word!
peacock shirt

A HUGE thanks to everyone who’s supported and believed in me…you know who you are and I couldn’t have done it without you!! I’m quite a lucky runnerchick to have some pretty freaking amazing people in my life…thank you, Guys!

Now get out there and get running, chicking, dreaming, DOING, and laughing!!

Run. Laugh. Be.

ezzere logo

Embracing Speedwork: Why running faster is mental AND physical, how to shift your thinking to run faster

So one very hot singer has crooned, “Speed kills…” Well any runner can tell you that one! It’s a little two-fold though, speed kills your opponent and if you consider the lactic acid factor it probably feels like you’re killing yourself too! ;) Remember THIS cartoon??

It’s true, us distance runners, of the slow-twitch muscle fiber realm would most likely opt for a 10 mile tempo than sets of 800′s or 200′s. Distance logic right there.
runner on track
The thing is though, while you can’t inject your distance running legs with fast-twitch muscle fibers you CAN hone the ones you’ve got and it’s quite remarkable how malleable that muscle make-up can be with proper training. But here’s the thing, for long distance runners, GETTING FASTER takes both a physical and mental component.

Physical

I’ve written a few articles on the specific physical training tips to run faster. Distance runners SHOULD embrace those horrid 200 repeats, choke down those shorter intervals because speed translates up. You need to reverse ‘common’ distance logic and build from the bottom (aka shorter distances) up.

The faster you can sprint, the faster you can comfortably hold a ‘slower’ pace and longer. That reads as faster 5k’s, 10k’s, and marathons.

Do those shorter intervals, add some hill sprints, anything that involves explosive power. That’s the muscle-building and training factor.

Mental

Here’s the thing, if you’re like me you HATE that short running stuff because you ‘feel’ like you suck at it. You feel out of your element and get stressed more for the short stuff because it feels awkward, doesn’t come naturally, and thus gets a little frustrating.

ALL those thoughts create is PHYSICALLY impossible to run your best sprints. Crazy how the MIND can once again stop you from being the best runner you can be. The thoughts of feeling ‘out of your element’ create a foundation for stress and rather than running RELAXED as you should, you’re running tense. Ironically the more you ‘try’ to run faster, the slower you’ll be. True fact.

Learning and reminding yourself to run relaxed is an ongoing process. Here are some mental thoughts that can help you stay relaxed and allow your body to run faster:

* Arms: Laws of running physics (?? lol) hold that your legs can only move as fast as your arms. I like this because rather than think about your legs (let’s be honest they’re hurting like mad, let’s NOT think about them at all to block out that pain!) I think of moving my arms front-to-back as quickly as possible. The legs will follow.
turn left on the track
* Eff It: This is the mentality I’ve adopted during short intervals, but let me explain. I KNOW ‘trying’ to run faster will shoot me in the foot, so I force my type-A brain to do the opposite. I remind myself, “Don’t worry about the times, I know speed isn’t my strong point, but it will only improve if I work on it. So eff it, relax, you can’t FORCE anything so just roll with it.” Basically you have to embrace the ‘awkward feeling’, loosen up, and just ‘have fun’ with it. Also, stop telling yourself that you suck at the shorter intervals! ;)

* Effort: Tying to my tip above, ultimately running and training comes back to perceived effort. The watch and numbers only tell part of the story, so another thing I tell myself is, “Just run hard.” Run faster and even if you don’t look at your watch (this can help runners if they have built themselves a little speed phobia) if you’re running HARDER and FASTER you’ll get the rewards.

Bottom line here: even distance runners NEED speedwork if they want to run their longer races faster. Embrace the nasty shorter intervals, adopt the ‘eff it attitude’ and stop FORCING it. Relax the heck up and in true ironic distance logic you’ll run faster when you’re ‘trying’ less. ;)

1) Speedwork, love it or hate it?
2) When is the last time you did speedwork?
3) What’s something you tell yourself to make sure you’re running relaxed?

#epicfailWIN: Why failures rock

Runners can never, ever fear ‘failure’. In fact, failures are NOT a bad thing. To fail means that you set a high enough goal. You stepped outside your comfort zone, you DREAMED you could achieve something great.

Failures are often the most powerful learning tools. Bad race, horrendous workout…you have to not only experience them you have to FORCE yourself to get through them. Soak up the experience, actually feel how much that suckiness that was.

Take those sucky feelings and channel them into:
motivation
determination
confidence.

#epicfailWIN picture

Confidence, you say? Yes, confidence.

A runner who pushes through when things really suck should be brimming with confidence. It’s way too easy to run an amazing workout when your legs feel like gold. To have a phenomenal race when it happens to be one of those ‘magic days’. Magic days are the exception, legs that feel like they’re running on clouds are the rarity.

To grit out a workout and keep your mind IN THE RACE when things are tough, that is mental toughness. The same goes for obstacles and challenges you didn’t expect, sudden curve balls that really test you. Get through them, keep moving forward. Those experiences, those trials, the hard times, even when you put in your best effort and the clock is brutally honest…THOSE are necessary to build a strong runner.

You survive knowing you still put in your best and never mentally gave up when things get tough, and that should give you the most confidence in the world. Those should make you think, “Look, I got through it and stayed tough when I felt like crap. Just imagine how well I’m going to run when my body and my legs feel GREAT.”

Redefine failure in your mind. After a bad workout or race, yes, you are allowed to be miffed, to be peeved. But channel all of that into a productive mindset. Rather than think as a defeatist, use the burning embers of anger as fuel for motivation and determination. Then look for any lessons you can learn from the race. (Did you go out too fast…again?? Wise up! haha)

Then COME BACK. The only time a failure SHOULD make you embarassed is if it’s the end of your road. You give up and stop your story right there.

I want you to now share with me YOUR epic fails turned epic wins. Share your stories about an obstacle you faced, overcame, and came out a stronger runner and person because of it. Tell me also about your epic fail of a race, and either tell me how you came back later to make it a ‘redemption race’ epic win…OR…if you just had this epic fail tell me how you’re going to use that in a way to reach an epic win.

You can blog about, post a picture, make some artage (you know how much I’d really love that!) and then tweet me @caitlinchock with the hashtag #epicfailWIN and a link to your epic fail win moment/story/picture/etc.

So, Runner Friends, embrace your failures because they make you stronger.

1) You know what to do, get to gather your epic fail win moment…I can’t wait to hear all about them! #epicfailWIN