Mental Marathon: Tackle Obstacles

TACKLE OBSTACLES DURING TRAININGTackle Obstacles
“Running is so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles you might feel that you can’t. But then, you find your inner strength and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” – Arthur Blank
Life does not stop for us to do the things we want (or feel a need to do) and unfortunately this applies to the “new” runner, but also to the most seasoned veteran. Regardless of those factors you still have to a) go to work, b) be at home for family responsibilities, c) train, d) clean up, and e) get ready to do it all over again tomorrow! Ideally, this would continue to happen almost on “repeat,” but guess what, there’s more. Weather, travel, important meetings, sicknesses or injuries, and poor sleep are all obstacles that could disrupt our daily routine. These obstacles are usually things “out of our control” so planning for them helps us feels more in control, prepared, and ready for the unexpected!
Here are a few tips to plan for some of them:
Weather. The best way to plan for this obstacle is to be prepared and have options! Preparing for the weather includes checking the weather in the morning, wearing layers, always having liquids with you (e.g., water, Nuun, etc…), and most importantly have an indoor and outdoor option for your training.
Traveling and busy schedules. Like goal setting, writing out and being able to “see” your progress, or in this case your schedule, is the most helpful way to account for travel and busy schedules. If you are traveling, find a place to stay that will have access to physical activity. Hotels usually have very basic exercise equipment; if they do not, familiarize yourself with your surroundings and go for a run.
Sickness/Injury. More than likely, we can all think of a single area or body part that may be more prone to soreness or injuries. Athletes frequently rely on soaking in the tub (hot or cold), using Biofreeze, wrapping, foam rolling, and/or resting to help recover.
Poor Sleep. In 2011, the Mayo Clinic put together seven tremendous tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
  1. Stick to a schedule.
  2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink.
  3. Stick to a bedtime ritual. The saying is, if you do not fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of laying in bed get up, walk around, and then try again.
  4. Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. If you fall asleep better with music or something on in the background avoid using the “glow” from televisions or your cell phone. The mobile application White Noise (free) plays enjoyable sounds that typically help individuals feel less stress, and fall asleep easier (e.g., thunderstorms, rain, beaches, waves, etc…).
  5. Limit naps.
  6. Add physical activity in your routine.
  7. Manage stress. Make sure you include an enjoyable activity prior to falling asleep (e.g., reading, writing, journaling, talking with your significant other, etc…). These things will help you wake up feeling refreshed and forget about yesterday’s stresses.
The above obstacles can easily take the wind out of our sails, so try planning for some of the obstacles that might come up for you and trust me in saying that if they do occur you will feel confident and prepared!
Tip From Ryan Shuda, M.A., LPC, (p) CC-AASP, and Sport & Health Consultant-
Park Ridge Psychological Services