Run It – Mental Workouts for Runners


Mental Workouts for Runners - visualization tricks and key mental workouts to get you ready for an event. Part of the Run It series of tips and tricks for runners.

This month for the Run It series, we are discussing a fascinating area of running and competing – the mental side of the sport. In case you’re new to Run It, every month 6 of us running coaches and bloggers share articles with you on a specific topic. You can find our past Run It topics here:

Rave Runs

Beat the Heat 

Hydration Tips

Workouts for Injuries

Best & Worst Running Advice

Stay Sane on the Treadmill

Winter Running Tips

Workouts are something we’ve shared many times – in fact, we spent a whole year putting together workouts for runners for you (find all our running workouts right here!). But mental workouts for runners? That’s not something you see so often, but most competitive runners and racers will tell you, it’s a vital component of success when you’re training for and completing an event.

So today on Run It, we have mantras, workouts, mind games, and when you can tell you need to DNS… Read on, and enjoy!

Mental Workouts for Runners - visualization tricks and key mental workouts to get you ready for an event. Part of the Run It series of tips and tricks for runners.

Mental Training Tips for Runners

  1. Visualization is a powerful tool for runners. Many elites practice this skill, and it’s something you can use all through your training cycle. The best advice is to be very specific as you’re visualizing. Think about what you’ll be wearing, what the weather and temperature might be like, how you’ll be feeling before your race – all the physical AND emotional feelings you’ll be experiencing. See yourself running strong, feeling confident, and knowing you’ll be successful in your goals. Throughout your training, draw upon this and use it to push yourself through long runs, or hard workouts. Something I have done for races, that I suggest to all my clients, is to also study either the course map, or get to know the course in person, if it’s a local race. Being able to visualize specific areas of the course makes this an even more effective tool.
  2. Use Mantras. Check out Nellie’s post for lots more info on mantras and why they’re so important, but having a mantra can be key for getting through a tough run, or pushing when you feel like giving up. Your mantra can be short and sweet, like “Keep Pushing,” or more detailed, like, “I am strong, I am powerful, I am capable.” Remember, positive self talk can change the way you think, so if you’re incorporating it when you’re feeling mentally down, it will be super effective.
  3. Know Your Why. You could be as physically prepared as possible, and be using all kinds of mental training tips to reach your goal, but unless you’ve got a good, strong “WHY” behind your goal, you’re already at a disadvantage. It can be easy to get into the habit of signing up for a race, training for it, setting your time, or pace, or PR goal for it, without actually asking yourself, “Why is this important to me? Why do I want to achieve this goal?” Ask yourself. Think about what will drive you to succeed, then chase THAT. 

One of the best mental workouts for runners that helps build you not only mentally, but physically as well, is to do fast finish long runs. This is an important workout, because it helps you understand and experience the fatigue you’ll be feeling toward the end of your goal race – and yes, that fatigue will be in your body and your mind. The concept is simple – you start your long run at an easy pace, pick it up slightly in the middle, then the last third of the long run should be a faster pace. You can even incorporate your goal race pace for the last mile or two, so your body can feel what it’s like to run that pace when tired.

Ready to learn more from the other kickass runners in our Run It Series? Check out their blog posts below:

Laura from This Runner’s Recipes

Mental Workouts for Runners - visualization tricks and key mental workouts to get you ready for an event. Part of the Run It series of tips and tricks for runners.

Sarah from Run Far Girl

Mental Workouts for Runners - visualization tricks and key mental workouts to get you ready for an event. Part of the Run It series of tips and tricks for runners.

Angela from Happy Fit Mama

Mental Workouts for Runners - visualization tricks and key mental workouts to get you ready for an event. Part of the Run It series of tips and tricks for runners.

Allie from VITA Train for Life

Mental Workouts for Runners - visualization tricks and key mental workouts to get you ready for an event. Part of the Run It series of tips and tricks for runners.

Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama

Mental Workouts for Runners - visualization tricks and key mental workouts to get you ready for an event. Part of the Run It series of tips and tricks for runners.

Comments

  1. Knowing your WHY and having a real, intense and passionate “why” is probably the most important one and I’m so glad you pointed that out! It’s that “why” that will get you out of bed, drag you through repeats and keep grinding out the miles when the newness of the goal wears off.
    Love it and love this link up!
    Allie recently posted…3 Times Mental Strength Meant Not Racing #RunItWednesdayMy Profile

  2. I love the visualization piece! Its so important to put yourself in the race before you are actually there.