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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, this morning running with my ever patient husband, he pointed out when I was in panic mode and when I was relaxed. Being the boy that he is whenever he heard my breathing change, he would tell me to relax, but I've always associated relaxing with slowing down.<br><br>
He wouldn't let me slow down, at least not as much as I thought I should be able to. So, then I would panic more. Vicious cycle that one.<br><br>
How do you master the mental block - the one that says, "I can't?"
 

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Ah, yes, it is the muscle between my ears that tends to give me the most trouble on runs. Looking back at the injury I got during my last marathon, now I can pinpoint the mentality that not caused, but contributed to it. <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif"><br><br>
I need to work on this more, MUCH more, but often I notice when I get what I call "bad run brain" it's only that I'm needing some hydration and as soon as I drink I calm down again. Other times I get mad at it and push harder to show it who's boss! Or I focus on relaxing and slowing my breathing as best I can. And plenty of times I give in and have a semi-lousy anxiety-ridden run, although this seems to be a bit better than it was a couple months ago.<br><br>
One book I read, "Mind Gym," had some helpful sections. Other runners here have suggested other titles, too.
 

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I have always found the last quarter of any race to be very difficult. Body is wanting to slow down, and brain has to say "no" to body in order to achieve good result. Daniels speaks about this effect in his chapter on racing. Noakes refers to it as well in Lore of Running. I call it the "Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy." effect. Simply knowing that it will eventually raise it's ugly head is enough motivation for me to prepare to defeat those negative feelings as soon as they surface. This preparation has led to my best race times and my most satisfying running memories.<br><br>
To me, breathing is an unconcious activity. If you are struggling with your breathing you are either running too quickly or you have some sort of breathing restriction (asthma?) that surfaces when you run. Try a couple of runs on your own to see if you are being intimidated by SO or not. He may be the source of your discomfort.
 

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I like Tigger's last suggestion. Some people are uncomfortable to run with. I have trouble with my SO and I have know idea why. I'm not intimidated by him, he just seems to hog my "space". I've run with alot of other people in my life, of all abilities, and to me running with him is like running with someone that is about 2 minutes per mile slower than me that needs to be a half-step ahead. There is never a moment of "relaxed" running.<br><br>
I did run with DH a few weeks ago, and ironically, when we were done, he looked at me and said "boy, you were breathing hard" (granted, I "am" out of shape).<br><br>
When he's saying relax, what is he referring to? Are you running with tight fists and shoulders? Because if he's saying "relax" because of you breathing is ragged and won't let you slow down--I'm confused. I would definitely think that would be time to ease up. I would even do that in a race situation. Mouth breathing with exercise isn't natural for me, sometime I have to go to a rhythm.
 

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McTortle:<br><br>
I seldom give out running advice because I'm not the greatest runner. However this I know about. When I start getting anxious about my running performance ie: breathing, stride, pace, sweat whatever, I try to disconnect. I think of other things and running becomes secondary, then all of a sudden I'm breathing with ease and comfortable. Often I speed up as well. That may not be a good thing pacing wise but it's what I've noticed.
 

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McTortle:<br><br>
There's some good advice above. If you're struggling with breathing, it does sound like maybe you are running too fast?<br><br>
As winter pointed out, there's really 2 ways to deal with being uncomfortable while you're running, disassociation and association.<br><br>
You can either try to think of other things, or you can try to feel and identify with what your body is telling you. Trying to think of other things (like when will this be over) doesn't help me very much, but YMMV.<br><br>
When you are feeling this way, and breathing hard, you could also try to focus on that uncomfortable feeling. Things I'll do: relax my shoulders, realx may arms, make sure I'm breathing with my stomach and not my chest (if you haven't done this, lay on the floor with a book on your stomach and pull it down while you breathe in).<br><br>
Maybe you could give us some more info - i.e. is it just when you're runngin with your husband, do you get like this on your own? How do you feel other than that you are breathing hard?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had asked B to run with me to help push me a little to see where my 5k time was (thinking about the tri in September), so he was doing what I asked him to do in terms of setting a pace that wasn't quite comfortable for me.<br><br>
Running on my own - at a comfortable pace I am relaxed and for the most part really can carry on a conversation. Saturday that was not really the point. The thing that kept tripping me up though was my brain kept telling me I couldn't do it. My brain kept wanting to quit. So I would run slower, he would tell me to catch up, I started panicking thinking I couldn't. . .<br><br>
That sort of thing. If that helps at all. . .
 

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McTortle:<br><br>
I didn't forget about you! Thanks for the added info.<br><br>
Yeah, it's funny, the brain will try to get you to quit before the body will. Sometimes you will feel like you are in over your head and you really aren't. Then again, sometimes you are.<br><br>
There is no easy way to get around this. Mostly, the comfort level just comes with time. Eventually when you do enough slow runs, and enough fast runs, and run enough races you'll learn to tust the feeling in your lungs and your legs more than the voice in your head.<br><br>
One thing that can help, if you don't already do this, is to start to get to know your paces. If you plug a recent race into the <a href="http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/rununiv/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm" target="_blank">McMillan Calculator</a> this will give you an estimate of how fast you could run other races, and a set of training paces. In particular it might help to look at the Long Run, and maybe the Tempo Run and one or two of the Speed Workout times.<br><br>
I don't know what kind of workouts you do now - what do you do?<br><br>
If you try mixing in some faster runs, and use those paces above as a guideline - you don't need to hit them, certainly not the first time, but you probably don't want to start out any faster. Maybe try some tempo intervals - something like warmup, run 8 minutes at your tempo pace, then jog 5 minutes, and repeat again. If you have a track available, or if you have a Garmin, that can be a good way to make sure you are pacing consistently.<br><br>
So I guess what I'm saying is, it will come with time and you can hlep it along by running more workouts and getting used to how your body feels at different paces.<br><br>
Hope that helps.
 

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I guess I haven't encountered a mental block yet. I wonder if it's because I'm not running major distances yet. Hm.<br><br>
Interesting topic.
 

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<b>Tortle-</b><br><br>
I had this issue like <b>Tiggers</b> not long ago at the end of runs--not even races. All of the sudden, I would want to quit less than a 1/4 mile from the finish and I started outright stopping. It me a lot of mental tricks to get through it: some distraction, sometimes mantras, and sometimes even speeding up just to prove I could beat that darn voice.<br><br>
You will eventually get a sense of what you can handle, both in terms of speed and distance, but <b>PTom's</b> idea of a pace estimator is good. I really like to know my paces and what I should be running, then I pick it up if I can.<br><br>
The other thing is to play with your breathing a bit. If you feel yourself starting to really suck in air or panic, try taking a deeper breath all the way down to your stomach. Tell yourself you can feel the oxygen going to your muscles. This little trick works for me at the beginning of races.<br><br>
BTW...5k's? They are tough. They are just an all out mental vs. physical game.<br><br>
Craney
 

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I've been basically ignoring "the voice" for the past couple weeks, because if I listened to it I'm not sure I'd be running much, let alone training, right now.<br><br>
Ignoring and rebeling against it seems to be good practice.
 

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I have a total block against longer runs (for me). Anything over 6 miles freaks me out. I just don't think I can do it.<br><br>
That said, this weekend my long run should take me over 6 miles, and I'm with a group, so I <b>am</b> doing it. This is my solution (group run) to this problem for me now.
 

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I'm fighting with this a little bit this summer while coming back from injury. For me, it's hard balancing "start back slowly" with "it's time to try pushing it a little". I had a bit of a breakthrough this week and am getting some confidence back.
 
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