Pushing yourself when running

Running is a form of both science and art. The beneficial impacts of running upon the human body are plentiful. However, the body also requires some encouragement in the form of mental stimulation to ‘push’ yourself when you are ready to give up. As a scientist and qualified gym instructor, I am more than familiar with the physiological adaptations going on inside the body as one exercises and ‘hits the wall’. But this post is not a scientific one. I will simply ramble about my personal thoughts on how I feel and tackle any mental obstacles I face in my daily runs.

Everyone gets motivation from different sources. Personally for me, I enjoy the sensation of pushing myself to my limits when running. I often find certain points of my runs more difficult than others, but have learnt to continue to the ‘sweet-spot’ where I can keep going. When doing a typical 15 km run, I often find the first 500 metres tiresome as I bring my body into a state of realisation that I am exercising. Ironically, the first 3 km are definitely my fastest!

Following this, my next difficult hurdle is around the 8 km mark. After this I am pretty much fine and can often keep going at a steady pace of ~12 km/h. My motivation comes from a combination of powerful music and feeling in sync with my body. Imagine the following scenario. My body is ready to give up. I want to stop, but keep going. I have blazing powerful music (i.e. The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack!) rocking in my ears. I am feeling every muscle in my body as I take each stride. ‘This’ is my ultimate buzz and quite honestly, the only time I truly feel ALIVE!

I honestly believe everyone has their own way of dealing with mental stimulation during runs. For me, I welcome pushing myself to the limit. If every run were to be relatively easy, I would definitely not enjoy them as much. If anyone has any thoughts about how they mentally stimulate themselves during their runs, I would love to hear about it in the comments section below!

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