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12 Running Resolutions for 2012 - Part VIII

By Bob Cooper


Maybe you've skipped the last 800-meter interval of a track workout, fallen off goal pace at midrace (costing you a PR), or quit a training plan halfway to race day. You hang your head just thinking about it, as if you failed a test.

"Giving up on yourself can make you angry," says Barbara Walker, Ph.D., a sports psychologist and Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon board member. "But make sure the anger is justified. Were your workout or race goals reasonable? Was the training plan too demanding for your stress load? If you're convinced you had no valid excuses, there are a few things you can do the next time."

Let's say you're skipping workouts. If you're a morning runner, set your gear out the night before. If you run after work, start from a park that's on the drive home so you're not tempted to loaf. And always ask yourself: "How often do I regret afterward that I went running?"

If you're on the verge of abandoning an entire training schedule for a race, don't toss it before determining if you're being too hard on yourself. Few runners—elites included—can stick to a plan like glue, because life intervenes. A better option is to keep the plan but slightly modify your race goal.

Now let's say that when the going gets tough in a key workout or race, you don't get going. "Hours or days before that moment of decision, visualize hitting the goal pace for mile after mile," says Walker. "That makes it easier to accomplish." Rehearse cue words, like strong and powerful, to say whenever negative thoughts enter your mind. Mentally breaking up the distance into bite-size segments, such as each mile of a race or each repeat of a workout, also helps.


This is the year I will...

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