Monday, January 4, 2016

New Habits...of Thought

When we think about change and resolutions, it's so often focused on outward behavioral change: stretch regularly, eat more veggies, get to bed earlier (ok those might be some of mine).

What about our inner thought processes? Shouldn't they be subject to change too? It's easy to get trapped in mental loops that are not good for us but so often we just accept them! This week I recognized one and am ready to turn it around.

Friday I put in a nice 50 mile ride (despite temps in the 30's). It was just an aerobic ride that called for 30s pickups at the end of every 5 minutes. I love that ride format - it gives my mind something to chew on and some variety for my legs.

Anyway, toward the end of my ride I had the thought of:

 "I'm SO glad I don't have to run after this." 

Then I suddenly realized that negativity toward running off the bike has become a consistent thought pattern in my training rides and in my races. It started when the iliac artery issue was acute. I dreaded the run because I just never knew when the pain would hit and my leg would shut down. There were a few races before I was diagnosed that I actually remember hoping for a mechanical issue on the bike so I could skip the run. That's how anxious I was.

The artery is no longer an issue, but I haven't shed that fear and negativity.

I came into this sport as a runner and for several years that was my strongest of the sports by far. In recent years, the bike has eclipsed it a bit, but I can still run reasonably well. There's no reason to be negative!!

I recognize that my challenge is to flip my thought patterns on the bike heading into the run.

It's time to reprogram my thinking so every time I am on the bike, I am going to work on visualizing and imagining myself happy on the run:

  • Picture myself smiling, relaxed, and in a rhythm
  • Think of my favorite running mantra - "Running is a dance that covers distance"
  • No worries about bike mechanicals!
  • "Drafting" is ok
  • Free food and drinks!
  • Just pick off the miles, one by one
  • Can chit-chat, high five spectators, fall into cadence with other runners
  • Love that finish line!
I need to remember that it's something I GET to do, rather than something I HAVE to get through. It's not a swim-bike. It's a swim-bike-RUN.

These pictures represent how I want to feel - strong, happy, capable, controlled, tough, gutsy.

I was reading 800m track star Nick Symmond's book (Life Outside the Oval Office) and he wrote about managing his fear of a big race by just deciding that no matter the outcome, he was going to smile and look like he was having THE most fun out there, and he did. I plan to do the same.

I'm actually kind of excited to finally be able to put words to what I have been feeling and see a way through it.

What thought patterns are you ready to change?