The Battle of Our Bodies vs. Our Minds

As runners, we’re often reminded that running is just as much mental as it is physical, that tackling those long runs and increasing our mileage is just as much an endurance test of our own mental stamina as it is of our physical stamina.  Many running experts say that running is 90% mental and the remaining 10% physical.  Experts have even proven this idea through the use of scientific methodology.

mentalOften times, I find myself talking myself out of stopping because, deep down, I know I can finish what I’ve set myself out to accomplish, whether that’s a three mile midweek run or a longer distance run over the weekend.

But what about those days when your mind wants to keep going but your body just can’t keep up?

I had one of those days Tuesday evening.  When I walked into the gym, I had planned on running a 5k on the treadmill.  But as I got going, I could feel the heaviness in my legs from the past weekend’s eight mile run.  Not only were my legs heavy, but I had a Charlie Horse in one calf and twinging pain in the other.

Clearly I hadn’t let my legs rest enough after my long run two days prior.

About 1.5 miles into Tuesday’s run I knew that completing an entire 5k wasn’t going to be the reality that evening.  Although I was taking more frequent walk breaks than I usually do during my shorter runs, my body just wasn’t able to keep up with my mental strength that evening.  My brain and my body were definitely in a battle against one another.

mindquoteTuesday evening was one of those times that I didn’t complete all the miles that I had planned on accomplishing.  The 10% physical part of my running capabilities won out against my mind, which is supposed to be 90% of my running.

It was a battle of my body vs. my mind.  And on Tuesday, my body won.

QOTD: Have you ever wanted to run further than your body wanted to allow you to?  Did you feel disappointed in yourself for not finishing all of your planned miles?

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19 Responses to The Battle of Our Bodies vs. Our Minds

  1. I’ve missed my miles many times. It happens. The documentary “Runnin the Sahara” has a great quite; running is 90% mental, and the rest is all in your head.
    Keep running!

  2. Lauren says:

    Yep this has happened to me a lot. And it’s so frustrating when you can’t go as far as you would like, but you have to listen to your body because it’s much better to stop when you know you have to than to push your body too hard and end up injured.

  3. Chaitali says:

    This happened to me just the other day at the track workout :( I just felt like I could not keep running and walked a lot of it. I was pretty disappointed in myself but determined to do better the rest of the week.

  4. I remember getting SO frustrated when I couldn’t stick to the training plan for my first Wine and Dine due to injury. I’ve learned it’s so much more important to listen to your body than what’s on a piece of paper. With that in mind, and a much more laid back attitude for last year’s W&D, I finished 22 minutes faster and in much less pain than the year before. :)

  5. Susan says:

    That’s the story of my life in regards to running, but I think it has more to do with actual body ability and less mental strength ;) I’ve given up running. It doesn’t give me that rush that I kept hoping for. I think the running thing is a hard balance. Pushing yourself because you know you can, and really respecting the body. So many runners don’t give in to their body demands and deal with so many injuries. I don’t know that I could find that balance.

  6. sarahdudek80 says:

    So true. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Denise says:

    I’ve been there. Coming back from injury, sometimes my mind is into it and my body puts the brakes on it. I try to be patient with myself, but it’s so frustrating when my body won’t cooperate. Thanks for sharing that you share the struggle too sometimes.

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  9. cheriarmour says:

    Oh man, I have definitely set out to run more distance before and not made it quite there. I can’t remember how long I was supposed to be running once, but my blood sugar ended up plummeting and I had to call my fiance to come get me from downtown. Oh well, run was awesome til that point, so I did what I could.

  10. There have been a few times that my body couldn’t keep up with my mind. For example, this weekend during a half marathon, I had a little knee pain. I knew I could keep up the pace I was running and that I’d be able to PR, but doing so would risk further injurying myself. Sometimes, we do have to listen to our bodies so that we can keep running in the future.

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