Here you might expect me to give you a laundry list of pain-coping strategies to use in training and racing, but I will not. The only way such techniques can work is if you come up with them on your own in the heat of battle, and I can assure you that you will. That’s why you have to keep going there in your workouts. But while I cannot tell you which specific pain-coping strategies will work for you, I can give you a couple of examples of different pain-coping skills that work for different runners. Example 1: When I asked Kara Goucher how she copes with suffering, she told me: For me it is about being able to focus on all the positive things.

When I’m running a marathon or another race or even a hard training session and I’m hurting, I pick out all the good things. When you are running, there are a million things telling you you can’t do it. Your foot hurts, it is windy, someone else looks great. I try to find those few positive things that tell me I really can and focus on those. It hurts, but I’m running a great pace. Maybe I’m tired, but I still have control over my body. Example 2: During hard workouts I frequently call upon the mantra This is where you want to be.

I came up with this mantra after thinking about how a big part of the experience of suffering in hard running is the desire for the effort to be over with. I want to press a magical fast-forward button that transports me past the pain. Yet when I go to bed at night, I think about running hard before sleep washes over me. My life largely revolves around creating opportunities to run hard.


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