This weekend we took a trip for work up to Pittsburgh from where we live in Charleston, SC. I say we because the entire family came with me even though it was a work trip. I decided to forgo trying to get any cycling or swimming in due to the logistics and time constraints. That left running. And in all my running, my thoughts kept trying to discern if the issues I face are mental or physical.
Only Running This Weekend
I managed to get a total of 10.28 miles in over three days. The difference between running in Charleston and Pitttsburgh…hills. I held back with the thinking that I did not want to cause any undue stress. Becasue I have been working diligently on developing the Pose Method, the stress on my body seemed minimal. Total change in elevation on each mile loop was 385 feet. Therefore, a 4 mile run changes this elevation 4 times.
Mental Or Physical?
The whole time, I thought very little about anything but my technique. The downhill portion caused my focus to be even more heightened. On these portions, I had to almost think I was running in place. After my longest run, I felt I could keep going for another two or three more loops (2 or 3 more miles). But, I had other obligations and thought it better to not mess with a good technical practice.
This, of course, brings me to the point of this story. Is the challenge mental or physical? As I learn more and more, the challenge always begins and ends in the mind. The physical can always get stronger. But the mental controls every movement we make. As I learned with swimming, just getting the right technique can push your trajectory to a new level without any extra physical exhertion.
Mind Over Matter
I believe this also affects the moments when it does seem like the physical is ready to give in. By focusing on the technical and mental aspects of the stroke or stride, then the body begins to respond accordingly. I have not fleshed this idea out completely but I have an inkling of where it will lead.
Today, I was finally able to return to my pool work. And again, as long as I focused on the mental aspect of swimming (i.e. controlling the movement of the stroke), the laps just swam by (forgive the pun). How we think and what we think about changes everything. At least, that’s how I am experiencing it today.