Sunday, September 18, 2011

Plugging In: Tuning Out The Negative Internal Dialogue

Toward the end of July I read a book called Mastering The Art of Running. One of the first pieces of advice I took from the book was to unplug while I was running so I could focus on my form, my surroundings, and my breathing. This advice was also good  so I could "listen to what my body was telling me" For almost 2 months now I have not used ear buds and I have tried when running to focus on the things mentioned and to listen to my body. I have really enjoyed some of my runs using this technique, others have been very tough.

The thing that has made these runs tough is the internal dialogue I have been allowing myself to have while running unplugged. Seems I am a constant critic of myself. " Your stride is too short!" Your Stride is too long" "You are leaning and not running upright enough" "You should be making a better pace than this by now" " You are still pretty slow" And so it goes on and on as I am trying to log my training. The idea behind the technique was a holistic idea that while you are running you are focusing and enjoying the run, problem is for the last couple of weeks, i have been really battling myself to keep the runs going.

I have been following a training plan through and I knew I was scheduled to log a 1:30:00 run yesterday. This was the longest I have ever run and I wanted to to have a great run, I knew to have a great run I would have to shut off the voice inside of me that was being so critical. I decided to dig out the ear buds and try to run with a little bit of a soundtrack. For my soundtrack I chose "Def Leppard Radio" on Pandora

                "Do You wanna Get Rocked?!"
That was the first thing I heard as I began my run. It was a beautiful early morning, The moon was still lingering in the sky and the temps were perfect. I started down my usually route and physically I felt great. The first mile cue came through my ear buds and I was a little under 10 minutes per mile. Not a fast pace, but I was trying to save some reserve as I knew this was a long run.

The second mile cue came in and my pace had actually quickened. and I wasn't feeling any of the normal fatigue I usually feel. Much of the normal fatigue I feel is brought on by me "listening to my body" and focusing on the internal dialogue. All I was thinking about right now was running and rocking.

 "Running with the Devil" Van Halen
That was the song blaring through my ears as I past the 3 mile mark. I was proud to hear that I was just over 29:00 when The 3 mile cue hit and I didn't feel like I was pushing myself at all. I hit the beach around 3.5 miles and had a great run along the beach. The saltwater smelled amazing. I begin thinking at this point about how good this run was and how much I was enjoying the music.

"Are you ready to walk a little bit" came a voice from inside my head. No way I responded and kept a good steady pace. At the 5 mile mark the runkeeper cue in my ear bud told me I was still averaging 9:42 per mile right where I had been the whole run, the next thing I heard in my ear was:


miPace (min/mi)Elevation (ft)

          "For those about to Rock" AC/DC

My pace did eventually slow but not until I had logged 6 good miles. I enjoyed listening to the music of my youth and taking in a great morning. Even when I did slow down on the last couple of miles my body wasn't screaming at me like it sometimes does and I was still able to not walk more than a few steps at a time.

For the record though, Pandora's choice of Journey "Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turning" at the 7.25 mile mark was not helpful at all! Also, choosing to wait until I was turning into my driveway to start "Thunderstruck" was not helpful either. Overall one of my favorite runs I have ever made. and by far my farthest. I am hoping to get in double digits soon and when I do, I hope I have some great hair band playing in my ear. I will continue to run "unplugged" at times to focus on my form and my breathing, Yesterday everything just felt so natural, I never once had to remind myself about breaths.

Sep 17, 2011  ::  6:00 AM - 7:27 AM

h : m : s
Avg. Pace
Avg. Speed

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