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A Mental Sport

by Meghann on July 29, 2010

Every time I take off on a morning run I am reminded why running is 100% a mental sport. It’s not about what my body can do anymore – I know I’ve got this – it’s about what my mind’s capability to handle it.  

I had a tempo run on the schedule for this morning.


The first two miles were great. I was hovering at a 9:00 min/mile pace and feeling fine. Then the tempo part started and one mile in to it I was mentally ready to give up. Images of walking and stopping began to float through my mind. No one would knew if I walked or stopped; what was stopping me?

Then other visions began to float through my head. Entering the corral for Chicago – wearing a shirt that said ‘This is my moment, this is my BQ’ – crossing the finish line under 3:40 – etc. All of a sudden a burst of energy flew through me and I knew I could finish the last mile well under 8:00 minutes… and I did. 🙂

My mind was ready to give up halfway through. I knew my body wasn’t tired, but my breathing was tricking my head to thinking it was. I needed mental motivation to move forward and concentrating on my future goals and why I was running in the first place was the boost I needed to carry on. Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.

It also helped repeating ‘This is my moment, this is my BQ’  to myself. I think I found a new training mantra. 🙂

After my run and shower I toasted two left over waffles from Sunday’s breakfast and paired them with a peach.


The toasted waffles were topped with almond butter, strawberry preserves, and granola then eaten like toast. The way waffles were meant to be eaten – right? 😉


A fresh peach on the side. It doesn’t get any sweeter then that. 🙂


Running is 100% a mental sport and so is working at a desk. Time to force myself to mentally concentrate on the dozens of tasks at hand.

Happy Thursday!  🙂

1 britchickruns July 29, 2010 at 9:28 am

I admire your thinking! Sub 8minute miles are tough (I pushed to do one yesterday – 7.57 :D), but it’s all in the mind! My miles average at about 8.35 atm, so I was totally 100% committed to getting that elusive 7-something. It worked! We can do anything we set our minds to 🙂

2 Courtney @ Ice Cream & Wine July 29, 2010 at 9:28 am

That peach looks great – love that they are in full force right now! 🙂

Good luck getting things done at work – the weekend is just around the corner!

3 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday July 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

I would say 100% mental. Maybe more like 90%. Our body does have limitations.

4 Carly (Swim, Run, Om) July 29, 2010 at 9:44 am

Thanks for the reminder! Running IS absolutely all mental. The key is to learn to listen to your body instead of your mind. 🙂

5 Erin July 29, 2010 at 9:52 am

Running is definitely mental. I struggle with the mental aspect every time I go out for a run where I’m thinking about my times.

6 pursuitofhealthfulness July 29, 2010 at 9:58 am

I agree that mostly mental, but it is also important to listen to the real signals that our bodies are sending. Even still, my biggest running enemy is my own sense of confidence. Good job on pushing through… That´s the only way to get better.

7 Rosey Rebecca July 29, 2010 at 10:03 am

Great run! Running is also def. a mental thing for me. If I tell myself I can do it, then I can!

8 P2B July 29, 2010 at 10:06 am

I agree that running is mental. That is where I actually tell myself that I CAN do it and that my body is stronger than my mind thinks it is.
It is okay to have sluggish/lazy days once in a while, but not every day. Great job pushing through!

9 Kelly July 29, 2010 at 10:08 am

Nice tempo run. Sub 8 min miles sound so scary!

10 Rae July 29, 2010 at 10:09 am

I am with you 100% on that! I live by these two quotes during Ironman training:

“You can quit and no one will really care…but you will always know”
– John Collins (IM co founder)

“If you can’t fly, then run.
If you can’t run, then walk.
If you can’t walk, then crawl.
But whatever you do, keep moving”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

11 Sarah for Real July 29, 2010 at 10:10 am

So… I didn’t know what “BQ” stood for and I googled it.

“Bloc Quebecois – a political party of Canada”

No, that can’t be it.

“Best and Quickest” Possibly, but that doesn’t sound grand enough for Meghann to have mentioned it twice (at least?).

Then I googled BQ running and there it was: Boston Qualifier. Did I guess right?!

Or maybe you have to get under 3:40 to join that Canadian political party???

12 Carolyn @ July 29, 2010 at 10:20 am

DEFINITELY mental!!! Most of the time I look back on runs and think, “I could have done better if I’d just MADE myself.” :/

13 Kierstan July 29, 2010 at 10:25 am

Oooh, I have a tempo run as well to get done today! Think I will have to adopt your mantra as I need to try to get in two quick (7:3oish) miles…

14 biz319 July 29, 2010 at 10:46 am

That’s probably why I don’t enjoy running that much – too much of a mental game! Glad you were able to push through!

15 Amy @ Second City Randomness July 29, 2010 at 10:47 am

I definitely think my body is capable of the long runs. But yes… the mind is not always prepared for it. I did the most amazing 10 miles last week. But I had a horrible 5 the week before… so crazy!

16 gavrielski July 29, 2010 at 11:05 am

Love this post! I often have to remind myself that I can always push myself to go farther and faster. My body is capable of it, but it’s often my mind that holds me back. Thanks for the reminder!

17 Anya @ Fitness & Sunshine July 29, 2010 at 11:06 am

Very true about mental engagement! Most of the time when I’m pushing myself, it’s pushing my mind. 😉

18 mayapamela July 29, 2010 at 11:09 am

You should check out the Uniform Project, too. It’s a lot like A New Dress a Day, only the author takes the basic Indian dress uniform and turns it every day into a new outfit. She raised money for children in India to go to school in doing so. She’s finished now, and released a book, but you can still see the archives on the left side of the web page. So creative!

19 lauren July 29, 2010 at 11:35 am

Hi Meghann!

“Pain is temporary, quitting is forever. ” I love that quote! I just ran the San Fransisco marathon (my first full!) and that was my go-to motivational quote. I’m so proud that you’re going for BQ, it’s an ambitious goal and a great achievement! Go for it girl! I’m planning on spending a couple weeks recovering and then doing the same. Keep it up! There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get at the finish line babe!


20 Traci July 29, 2010 at 11:41 am

It’s a mental sport for sure! When I feel tired on a run or feel like walking I repeat “mind over matter…mind over matter”. Don’t know why it helps but it does. I always remind myself I’m out here doing this for ME. Not anyone else. This is my time and I love it! Helps when a greatsong kicks me into gear as well!

21 Rachael July 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

I’m laughing at the BQ comment above – I’m currently in Montreal, and the Bloc Quebecois is one of the groups I’m interviewing for work – I couldn’t figure out what you would be doing cavorting with Francophone secessionists 🙂
Mind over matter is definitely something I need to remember – I know what I’m capable of, physically, but oft let myself off easy. Remembering past examples is usually somewhat helpful.

22 shelly@campinggirlchronicals July 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Positive self talk works for so many things. Great job this morning!

23 runningwithsass July 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm

ITA. The mental aspect of it is so hard. I get bored really easily when running and talkmyself out of further mileage, especially when it’s hot!

24 anotherannabanana July 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Completely mental! I struggle so hard, especially on the treadmill, to make myself keep moving. It’s so true that as soon as I start to think about how far I still need to go I immediately start to “feel tired” and notice pains, aches, general discomfort.

Any tips for those of us who are new to pushing past that mental block?

25 Megan @ A Very Meg Girl July 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm

You are such an inspiration with your running and I 100% agree with you that running is 100% mental.. My half marathon is a perfect example of that.. Running only 6 miles before and finishing it was all mental..

26 Andrea of Care to Eat July 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I told Mama Pea the other day that my cardio (intervals) mantra is “I can do anything for one minute.” Her response was, “That’s what she said.” Shocker. 🙂

27 Cat July 29, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I definitely think mental concentration on work tasks and running is similar. The mental strength I have developed from running translates into improved mental performance at my desk (when I was studying and now while working). When I think about it the connection is obvious but it’s not a benefit I was expecting when I first started running.

28 Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales July 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm

‘Pain is temporary, quitting is forever’ – I love this and it’s so true!

29 Miranda @ MirandaJeans July 29, 2010 at 8:42 pm

OMG your blog post here just reminded me I started to make waffles for breakfast but then stopped the toaster to make OIAJ, but I left the waffles in the toaster all day! D’oh, gotta go take care of that now! Bahahahaha

30 Emilyeatsclean July 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Your waffles look delic! Yummy!

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