Advanced Running: Establishing the Mindset for Success

man running on beachAdvanced Running: Establishing the Mindset for Success

I took my first yoga class in more than a decade today and it wasn’t pretty. I was stiff, ungainly and awkward and had to literally fight the desire to stop! I found out my instincts were right about my body – it IS strong and fast but when it comes to balance and flexibility – and mind-body awareness – I am way behind the “8 ball”.

What I also learned today is that to continue to follow my program of the past 10 years as it is currently constructed would NOT benefit me in the long run. Injury and other issues WILL surface if I don’t respond to what I have discovered today so I will share some ideas and thoughts with you in this article that may help prevent you from making similar mistakes that I have made in my own running life.


Lessons from my first yoga class

woman performing yoga poseI realized that being 66 the way I am today is truly a blessing – and a curse as well. My thoughts are forming about this new process I am entering and the impact it will have on me in the years ahead if I respond appropriately – and remain flexible and unafraid of the unknown. I can honestly say I felt WAY of out of my comfort zone today and that IS a good thing. I needed a “wake up call” and I got one loud and clear today. Whatever you do with this information on running and establishing the mindset of success and achievement, it will finally be defined and determined by how much – and how often – you step outside your comfort zones.

We ALL do what we love and avoid those things that make us uncomfortable in the end. Will I go back once a week – this next time with my daughter Lisa on Monday and share my discomfort with her support? YOU BET I will!. Remember I said earlier that I am a solitary soul and have run almost my entire life alone? Well now I need to share this part of my journey with others who know more about this subject called balance and flexibility than I do. After all these years I have another long process to start and the challenge of discovering new things about myself that I knew would NOT be easy or comfortable to learn AT ALL!

The reality is my hamstrings and my lower back are REALLY tight and it will take me time to “undo” what I have done to them after all these years of hard training. I will need to remain committed to developing – and maintaining – my flexibility and balance in the years ahead for sure. What is in this for you? The knowledge that you MUST engage in balance and flexibility activities – either in a group or on your own if you are willing to do the work yourself. This will insure injury is minimized as you engage your body in high intensity (sometimes of course) and challenging training to improve your fitness levels and enhance your quality of life.

What do I do about this now that I know more about my limitations?

The answer – or answers – to this important question will be given to me over time I am sure. What I am not sure of at this point is how I much work I must do on my own between classes to insure my own development as a runner –and athlete. I am a bit in shock to be honest with you about how poorly I performed in class today. The women kicked my butt for sure – but I am going to absorb this information and work on a plan of changing my approach to the training I will do this year. I set aside January of 2013 as a “month of recovery” because of the intense 2 year period I am just emerging from after setting records for mileage and speed. I also found out today how exhausted I am mentally and physically so these are the “red flags” I am now aware of at this particular time in my life.

What “red flags” are waving in your life and are you aware of their presence at all? I walked a mile on the treadmill at 3.5 after class today because that is all I could do. I was dismayed (to say the least) at how the yoga class had affected my legs! I will have NOW decided to “follow through” on my pledge to make January a TRUE recovery month – or I will PAY dearly in the months ahead for sure. This information I am sharing with you now is brand new to me. I am not 35 or 45 or 55 or even 65 now. I am 66 and finally am recognizing what limitations “feel like”. Your limitations will become apparent to you as you begin to train with more intensity and increased volume – just as they have for me. We cannot avoid paying a price for whatever we do – or don’t do – in our running and training lives.

I will continue running and lifting weights but now I will add additional stretching, flexibility and balance work at the end of each workout. I will attend one yoga class per week and run different programs at slower speeds to enhance my recovery period. Since I did not take recovery time during the last two years of my running life I will evaluate recovery periods more clearly when they are apparent to me and learn to add them when I need them. This is the “mindset of success” I am referring to in the title of this article. The REAL surprise to me is that after all these years of working out and running – and training clients on these principles as well – it is that I am still struggling to follow what I know NEEDS to be done – and WORKS ON MYSELF!


man happy and healthyTake what I am sharing in this article and APPLY it to your own training. I am secure in the knowledge that as I continue to learn – and in some cases like today “re-learn” what I already know to be true – that we NEVER truly “KNOW IT”. We are continuously exploring territory in our lives – whether it be running or the yoga discipline – that we have never seen before. We know what we need to do if we accidently “bump into new knowledge” but the unknown remains ever-present.

Today I merely learned what I suspected for a long time – that to run really fast and train with success – I (we) must never forget the basic principles of training: Remain open minded, dedicated and committed to our purpose, passionate about what we do – and love, and finally BE WILLING TO CHANGE what needs to be changed in order to continue to be successful!

Tomorrow I will run slowly (force myself actually “for now”) and work on incline (hill stride) training in order to start working my legs differently than all the hundreds of runs I have done over the past 10 years! I will be patient and open to this next phase of my running life because now I KNOW I have to do this if I intend to NOT breakdown somewhere in the future! A little discomfort today will be well worth feeling in order to be GREAT tomorrow – and all the tomorrows that will hopefully still be coming my – and your way as well!

Author Profile: Nick Prukop

Website:      Email: [email protected] Nick is an author, teacher, and speaker and has been a certified personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant since 1992. He is currently recognized as a master trainer by the IDEA International Health and Fitness Association. He has been a runner since 1964 and has accumulated over 60,000 miles in that time.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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