Mind over matter?

Mind over matter?

I know when an injury happens it is vital to rest and recover. However, my issue seemed to have been more of an ache in the calves when running not an injury, more of an irritation. After running yesterday, some of the time with the "ache" I decided to plod through it and get to "at least 5k without stopping"! This was pretty hard as I have been run-walking recently - and I am thankful for doing that, it has kept me moving instead of giving up.

I ran km by km and pushed myself especially to 1 and 2 km.. After that, there was no point in quitting at 3, definitely nothing would have stopped me at 4 being so close to 5! So physically, I could have stopped especially at the start but mentally, I was determined and that's what made me push on. Perhaps I haven't lost fitness at all, it is all in my head. Let's get back to non stop 5k runs and then go again from that.

Do you think running is a mental or a physical thing - or both? How do you push yourself?

9 Replies

  • Definately both with alot of mind over matter required. BUT we do need to learn to listen to our bodies as they will let us know when something is wrong. Like you Joolie. I've been struggling to do non stop runs recently then all ofva sudden on weds I popped off a non stop 3 mile run just because it was on my plan...... go figure........

  • Wow, well done, breakthrough runs (whatever they may be) are the best!

  • Seems like it Joolie, I find it tough sometimes, and think it may be down to my diagnosed illness with anxiety, but am much better now, especially since I've started running, but it likes to try and raise it's ugly head sometimes, but nowadays I seem more able to push on through, so, never give up!


  • I like to think of it just as a mental thing JoolieB1 if you know you have been covering those distances for a long time, and I know you have, it's often the gremlins playing tricks on you. They bring up the thought process of "ouch my calves hurt" because you have had a previous injury/problem with them and they just want to win the mind games. In my own opinion (and nobody has to agree with me) I think running is at first physical with getting your aerobic fitness to a point where you can run for a given period of time without it killing you and then once you have reached that point it is mostly a mental process. Having run longer distances at a slower pace, knowing you can cover those distances when you need to speed up, it is just a case of getting the gremlins locked up by telling them that you have already been there and done that so you know it can be done again.

    Maybe I have rambled a bit and I have put in a disclaimer of it being my own opinion but that's my thoughts on it, Once I have gone a certain distance or time I always use that to spur me on the next time I am flagging, I give myself a harsh talking to, my daughter (MissMat30) always says I am like a drill sergeant, even though I am not!!

  • I have graduated with my 30 minute runs, got up to my first 5k in 43 mins (now down to 34 mins) and have run every single week three times: 2 X 5k and a long run (built up from 5.5 to 6, 7, 8 and a 10 - even done 15 km), so physically I should be able to run 5k without a walk break! The calf issue is a tightness, it is uncomfortable but not an injury as such and even on a walk break it is the same, so I drop my speed and plod on and feel that is the best thing right now. Don't think I will make my half marathon goal in September now but I am still running

  • Joolie -- I have had calf problems on and off for the whole 3 years that I have been running - can't really understand it as it is spasmodic and seems to happen with different, shoes, socks - etc. It might be simply a placebo effect - but I do like to wear long running compression type socks or calf sleeves. I don't think I have ever had calf problems while wearing them - but could be coincidental.

    I have also been doing a lot of run/walk this year - particularly insofar as training for a half marathon. I have now returned to non-stop running using a heart rate monitor to keep my pace and HR down. I have only been doing it for 2 weeks ( 4 times per week) and was finding it to be somewhat hard , but it does now seem to be getting easier. I went to parkrun yesterday with the specific intention of running a 40 minute 5K - and found it to be very easy.

  • I agree that the mental battle is a huge part of this running game but I also don't think we can ignore the physical, personally. We all come to this game with different body shapes, weight, gait anomalies, old injuries, footwear etc and all these things can impact on our form at different stages. I think many new runners get to a certain stage before good old 'wear and tear' and those little areas of weakness catch us out and we need to rethink the way we run, the shoes we wear and the muscle groups that might need working on to minimise these niggles. For me, understanding the physical body has been as much a part of the journey as the mental strength which I have found. Maybe when we are younger we can get away with more, but as a 51yr old woman I now value the importance of working on my core and glutes etc (they just aren't as strong naturally as they were when I was twenty!) I can't eat the rubbish I used to either (although treats are always allowed 😉).Mentally, I have surprised myself with my running and physically, I have learned that to get the best from this (er...more mature) body, I have to listen to it carefully too. Older and wiser, maybe??🙂

  • So far I've only ever had one injury, which was a sore right shin after my first ever 10k. It scared the wits out of me because I thought it might be shin splints and it can take ages to get over them. But after a week off I felt OK and built up again more slowly to my next 10k. I know I'm likely to push through an injury if I ever get one, because that's the way I am, and I am very aware of any niggles. But my main problem is still mental. A few weeks ago I had difficulty running non-stop because I'd got into the habit of run/walk. At the moment I'm having difficulties even getting to a 5k and haven't done anything over 5k in about 3 weeks. This is mostly due to the summer heat - it's just too hot by the time I get up at the weekends. But as soon as I identify a "problem" the gremlins come out in force and start jeering that I can't do it etc. It is a right pain, but I think I'll have to live with it!

  • I found when I graduated, the thought of run/walk seemed to me like I was cheating so I refused to walk! I had a shin issue and the same as you, a week off and then running only on soft ground sorted it out for me. Recently run-walk kept me going with my calf issue but then I found it mentally hard not to stop running. Just go with it as you are and perhaps run longer with walk breaks to build up confidence again. I slowed down again to try a 5k run and thought by the time I got to 3, there was no point in walking. I wasn't going to die

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