RE­CALL SAC­RI­FICES

Runner's World (UK) - - Body-Mind -

When the mid-race pain re­ally sets in for ul­tra run­ner Dy­lan Bowman, he shifts his fo­cus to, in his words, ‘match­ing the suck with mo­ti­va­tion’. He does this by thinking about the sac­ri­fices he’s made to get there: pass­ing on ex­tra pizza and beer; miss­ing out on time with his fi­ancée in or­der to train; trav­el­ling to get to the race. ‘I’ve ended up win­ning races I didn’t be­lieve I was go­ing to win by thinking about all the things I’ve given up,’ says Bowman. ‘It’s crazy how much more I can en­dure when I do this.’

It helps to be pre­pared, so revisit your train­ing di­ary be­fore a race to pin­point the oc­ca­sions on which you dragged your­self out of your warm bed or skipped post-work drinks to squeeze in a run. One of the world’s greatest ath­letes, Emil Zatopek, who won gold in the 5000m, 10,000m and marathon in the 1952 Olympics, de­vel­oped this mind­set into some­thing ap­proach­ing an art form. ‘There is great ad­van­tage in train­ing un­der un­favourable con­di­tions,’ he said. ‘For the dif­fer­ence is then a tremen­dous re­lief in a race. Is it rain­ing? That doesn’t mat­ter. Am I tired? That doesn’t mat­ter either. Willpower be­comes no longer a prob­lem.’

When the mo­ment of truth comes in your next half marathon, re­call­ing those mo­ments when you’re start­ing to suf­fer might take your mind off the dis­com­fort and boost your drive to make sure you get the most out of your hard work. A sim­i­lar strat­egy could help you en­dure tough work­outs, too.

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