Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Self Doubt

I want to ask you guys a question...

How do you deal with self doubt?

When you're out on the road and your body wants nothing more than to stop and walk for a bit and you haven't even finished the first mile...  Or when you wake up and you realize it's the morning for your early swim and you roll over hoping when you open your eyes it'll be tomorrow...  When you finished that second set and are thinking of a million excuses as to why that third set is not necessary...  What do you do to make it through?  Do you have sayings memorized to re-motivate?  Do you have an image to remember?  Or maybe your alter ego coaches you through it...?

I ask because I had a point of self doubt this morning on my morning run and it stuck with me for a bit.  I planned out a 4.42 mile run on a slightly new path to keep things new and headed out.  The first mile (sometimes two or three) is always 'ad lib' before I settle into my cruise speed/stride.  However, when I finished mile two, I hit a big mental block.  I could tell my stride was shorter than normal and there was more of an effort being put into it; I didn't like it.  I pushed myself and managed to finish without stopping to rest, but for the last two miles I kept trying to figure out what was up - I was really going out of my way to doubt my abilities (i.e. If I can't run 7:00 pace this morning, how do I expect to run 6:00 pace in July?!, nevermind the fact that I have PLENTY of training time before then.)

What got into me?!  I have one run that's a little off and I start seeing the demise of my world.  hahaha 

I've been reading the Companion to the Triathlete's Training Bible and in Chapter 2 (Attitude), Jon talks about mental toughness.  He points out a number of characteristics surrounding the idea of mental toughness that he says are key to success, one being "Desire to Succeed."  He describes this in two bullets.  First, can you train alone?  Athletes who are able to train alone are more apt to not become relaxed in their training, are self-motivating, and don't rely on others for success.  Second, do you find a way to workout despite any conditions (weather, personal commitments, etc.)?  This one seems more obvious - athletes who put training as a high priority and find time for it no matter what else is going on move ahead first.

I've always trained alone.  Despite the fact that I wish I had someone to push me at times or simply to break up the monotony of the conversations I have with myself, I've always swam, biked, ran, and lifted on my own.  Sometimes it's nice to have that time to yourself and sometimes it'd be nice to have someone there to share it with.  I do feel self-motivation to train is important, but I think self-motivators who are able to link up with a partner for long runs, bikes, or any other workout are better off; we all can use a bit of a push time-to-time.  I always train alone and I'm sure a training buddy would help me improve.

So I leave you with my question:

How do you deal with self doubt?

I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and stories.  It sure would give me a better arsenal of my own for future self doubt moments; with everything I'm setting myself up for, Lord knows I have plenty more to come.  Thank you in advance!!!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

2 comments:

danny said...

there are probably just as many ways to deal with self doubt as there are runners/athletes in the world. For those of faith praying/meditation can be highly effective. Training and keeping records knowing what you did yesterday prepared you for today. Mantras.

For me I set high goals for running as a way to slowly develop my discipline to a task. So conquering those voices that are saying quit is part of the reason I run.

5 Miles 2 Empty said...

I'm a lone runner. I actually like to run by myself. Its so weird but I felt like sharing a marathon with someone was like sleeping with them...it is that sacred to me. Weird? Kind of. I finally shared an ENTIRE marathon with Mel-Tall Mom! It was great to have a partner but I certainly prefer to run solo. It is my time. My chance to push myself. My chance to prove to myself that I can do it alone and that I don't need anyone. That does not go to say that I don't enjoy the occasional company on races or workout but I love the accomplishment of getting that PR and knowing that NO ONE had a hand in it other than ME. Selfish? darned right it is. but it is my race my journey and my self-esteem.

I love the mental toughness/attitude part of the book!

When self-doubt creeps in I just tell myself that I can do it if I want to. But sometimes you just need to be easier on yourself. Too much pressure has negative affects too. And we all have it at one point or another. Tomorrow is a new day! I sometimes change up the plan or workout for the day if it sucks. If I'm not feeling an interval workout today then I'll do tomorrow's run today and the interval tomorrow. No biggie!

You got this!!! Don't sweat it (it's get in your eyes and burn like the dickens!HA!)