Are you bouncing back from an injury and feeling frustrated?
It’s normal to compare your endurance today to your endurance pre-injury.
Prescribed rest and taking it easy just feels like your hard work invested in maintaining speed and power is fading away. And once you’re cleared to train again, it’s tempting to rush the recovery process to get yourself back to where you were.
Restlessness and dissatisfaction spirals downward, feeding negativity, ultimately leading to a loss of motivation.
But, set your athletic goals aside for a moment (don’t worry, it’s only for a moment) and bring your mental focus to where you are today. Assess your endurance where it is now, not where you think you need to be.
Because when your mental focus is on where you are (an athlete who’s coming back from time off) and on what you’re doing, your energy and effort refocuses into becoming stronger and staying injury-free.
If you find it challenging to stay focused and relaxed, these two tips will help.
HOW TO GET YOUR MENTAL FOCUS BACK TO WHAT YOU’RE DOING
1// Use tactical breathing.
Tactical breathing, or combat breathing, is used in the military to reduce stress.
- Inhale deeply, expanding your stomach for four seconds
- Hold that breath for four seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth
- Contract your stomach for four seconds
- Hold the empty breath for four seconds
2// Stay objective.
It’s possible to observe your effort without judging your numbers. The judgement we make comes after absorbing the information from our watches.
When you glance at your watch, stop before you judge whether it’s right, wrong, fast, or slow.
While feedback is important, your goal is to direct your energy into action today. Your pace isn’t too slow, you’re exactly where you need to be because it’s all just feedback.
If you think you should sustain an 8:00 minute per mile pace but you’re running a 10:00 minute per mile pace, accept that that’s where your physical abilities are right now. It isn’t ‘fast’ or ‘slow’, it’s a 10:00 minute mile and it’s not permanent.
When you shift your mental focus from your long-term goal and focus your energy on what you have to do today, the pressure, frustration, and anxiety fades away.
Every time you step out the door for a training session is progress.
One mile at a time.
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The Practicing Mind, by Thomas Sterner
Rising Strong, Brené Brown