Whether you’re striving to hit that five-mile mark on the treadmill, or improve your time on an upcoming 10K, practicing an ‘endurance method mindset’ is key. In other words, you’ve got to train your mind through distraction to pass the time by! When you do, you’ll be able to take your run to a whole new level.
Focus on Your Small in Small Dosages
One of the most frustrating thoughts as a long distant runner may be thinking about how many more miles you have to go before you cross the ‘finish line.’ It’s just like anything else: if there’s a big goal you have to accomplish—and you stay focused on how long it’ll be before you finish it—those ‘inner critics’ can seep in and deflate you from ‘going for it’.
A better approach is focusing on each half mile (or even each quarter of a mile) at a time. Don’t focus on the fact that you have seven more miles to go before you can slow down. Instead, focus on the ½ mile in front of you, and give yourself a challenge for that ½ mile only.
For example, you can challenge yourself to speed up to a sprint for the next ten seconds, and then slow down to a jog for the next 30 seconds. Once you reach 2.5 miles, you can go through a mental ‘inventory’ of how your body is feeling. For example, how do your feet feel? How does your back feel?
Are you experiencing any discomfort in your legs? What is your stride like? How is your posture? For the next ½ mile, count out the number of strides you take. Is your posture as it should be when you take those strides? If you’re on an outdoor run, take the next 20 seconds to enjoy nature that surrounds you. What color of blue is the sky? What kind of trees are surrounding you?
For Treadmill Runs: Entertain Yourself in New Ways
If you are like many other runners out there, the treadmill isn’t the most stimulating place to long distance run. However, there are many ways to liven up your treadmill environment in order to stay present, and enjoy each minute. First, you can turn each mile into a positive way to give back! Strive for an added three miles during your next run. For each mile that you reach, you can donate an hour of your time to a charity of choice—that way, everyone wins. Secondly, pull out a new podcast you haven’t listened to before, or a brand-new playlist that isn’t your usual cup of tea.
As the run becomes tough—which it will at some point—visualize yourself crossing your finish line (or completing your daily goal). Hold onto that feeling of victory, success and achievement, and picture the many details in your mind of what accomplishment truly means to you.