13 Steps to Entertaining the Runner’s Mind

lululemon athletica

By Megan Cox

Well, this past week I finally banked a double-digit run (just barely—it was ten miles). Unfortunately, I completed it in gale force winds (I swear, it was like a mini-tornado out there!) that gave me the sensation of running backwards.

I almost talked myself out of running the full distance several times during the ten miles. But eventually, I stopped being a big weenie and completed my planned distance. It was when I allowed myself to get lost in thought that I did best, plodding along at a steady rate and keeping the negative thinking at bay.

So here’s my idea. Why not map out a route for my hyperactive mind just as I might map out a physical route for a run? Oh yes, this is such a good idea! Obviously, this mental map is a personal thing, but maybe mine will give you ideas for yours!

Here goes…

  • Mile 1: Think about the fact that I have managed to have someone who is not me look after my kids for two hours. Maybe I’m breathing like a choo choo, but at least the only whining I will have to listen to for a short while will be my own.
  • Mile 2: Try not to focus on my still rapid breathing and take in the sites around me. On race day, this might include the variety of people who are running or watching the race.
  • Mile 3: Dinner! What will I make tonight? What will I make tomorrow? What will I ask my should-have-been-on-the-cooking-channel husband to make me this weekend (and why isn’t he cooking all of our dinners?). Let my mind chew on the idea of a juicy steak. Or chicken enchiladas. Or both.
  • Mile 4: Make a shopping list for imagined dinners.
  • Mile 5: Enjoy the fact that my breathing has finally settled and I’ve passed that persnickety thirty-minute point. Spend the rest of the mile feeling like one uber-powerful female.
  • Mile 6: Come up with names for the third child that we are not having.
  • Mile 7: Come up with names for the dog that we will probably get instead.
  • Mile 8: Come up with my next three Tweets. Make sure they are super-duper funny and/or witty.
  • Mile 9: Having failed Mile Eight’s task, come up with three Tweets that will at least get people remotely interested in checking out my book on Amazon.
  • Mile 10: Name all fifty states and their capitals.
  • Mile 11: Having failed Mile Ten’s challenge, sing the words to two or three of my favorite Disney princess songs.
  • Mile 12: Having succeeded in meeting Mile Eleven’s challenge, make a plan of how to watch at least one of the saved TV shows on my DVR that my husband won’t watch and my kids can’t watch (i.e., the mind-numbing but totally addictive Vampire Diaries). Hey, we all have our guilty pleasures.
  • Mile 13: Think about all the yummy food I get to eat because I’ve tortured myself for thirteen miles.

After that, it’s just two-tenths of a mile to the finish line, so I’m pretty certain I’ll be ready to clear the brain and just speed toward the end of the race.

Who knew thirteen miles could go by so fast!

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

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