Mindset Matters

In the past, I primarily lived with thoughts of all the things I couldn’t do well.  Negativity permeated every inch of my inner dialogue.  I couldn’t run as fast as my friends, I couldn’t run without experiencing pain in my ankles and feet afterwards and I couldn’t lose weight as fast as others could. When asked to slow down my heart rate during runs, I whined about how slow I had to run and called it slogging (slow jogging). Listening to this week’s podcasts reminded me that my power to succeed resides in my mindset, therefore developing it must be a critical part of any training plan.

As part of this type of training, we must tap into our inner dialogue and begin to shift it.  I’ve begun shifting my thoughts and tapping in to focus instead on all the things I can do.   Filling my head with all the things that were going well has helped me remain positive about my training.   Here are some simple ideas to help change your inner dialogue and develop your mindset.

Meditation

I wish I could say I do this regularly, but I don’t.  Research does suggest that meditation has major benefits to many areas of overall wellness.  Mindspace app is one of the tools I downloaded.  I’ve used it during the night when I can’t fall back asleep, but I’ve yet to develop a regular routine.  I do, however, think of my long runs as meditation as I am in a mindfulness zone and think deeply.

Podcasts

There are tons of podcasts you can listen to for developing your mindset.  I have found many motivational speakers and love to listen to podcasts on long runs.  Sure does make the time pass by with less focus on the struggle.  My favorite podcasts right now are put out by Another Mother Runner and Running Lifestyle.  Find what speaks to you and listen to learn.

Read

One of the best books for me was recommended by my yoga teacher a few years back.  It still is the one that I reread when I need reminding of the power of mindset.

I wrote a summary of this book here Life Change

How has your mindset affected your training?  What have you done to develop and harness the power of positivity?  Please share in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Breathing Easy

Anyone beginner runner knows that breathing can be extremely challenging at times.  With so many other things to think about, like pace and form, breathing shouldn’t be so hard.  This week’s training tip is one that has been helping me catch my breath on runs.

When you breathe through your chest, shallow breathing, you take in less oxygen.  It’s important to learn how to belly breathe, using your diaphragm, to increase intake of oxygen. To practice and learn how to engage in belly breathing, try this simple exercise:

  • Lie down on your back and place both hands on your belly.
  • Keep your upper chest and shoulders still.
  • Focus on raising your belly as you inhale. Feel it with your hands.
  • Lower your belly as you exhale.
  • Inhale and exhale through both your nose and mouth.

Once you feel the difference, practice this breathing standing, walking and then running.    It is hard when you are running, or gasping, so really practice the technique first in non running options.

My running coach told me to try and establish a breathing cadence, or pattern when running.  The easiest way for me to do this was to count my breathes in and out.  At first, I counted 1-2-3-4 on inhalation followed by 1-2-3-4 on exhalation.  I then tried to work my way up to 5 where I am currently.  Eventually I hope to get into a zone and not have to think so much about breathing.

Many people wonder about nose vs. mouth breathing during exercise.  While it would be wonderful to run like the wind and calmly breathe through my nose, that is not reality.  Reality is you get more oxygen when you breathe through your mouth, so why stress it.  Just breathe through your mouth and don’t complicate matters that don’t need complication.

Finally, when you are in the midst of a run, if you are gasping for air your pace is likely too fast.  Slow it down, catch your breath and continue at a comfortable pace.  Your breathing is a measure of your conditioning and it should develop and improve over time.  Continue to vary your workouts, practice your breathing techniques and gradually increase pace over time.

I hope this helps you breathe easy out on your run, or workout this week.  Give it and try and let me know if it helps.  Please share in the comments below.

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