Mid-Week Musings: Mental Toughness, Making Goals Public, and Another Convo on Shakes

Hi everybody!!! I hope everyone is having a great week so far.

The time is narrowing down to when I’ll return to work and I’ve been trying my hardest to take advantage of what’s left of my summer by running as much as I can (but smartly) and reading all the blogs 🙂

There are so many good blogs out there (you can check out some that I follow ^^^) but it’s tough setting aside time to keep up with reading and commenting. I usually try to limit myself to 5 different ones a day or else hours will have gone by without me realizing lol!

Mental Toughness

Anyway, I’ve been keeping notes on ideas for blog posts and one of them I’ve been wanting to talk about is increasing/coping with pain tolerance. Funny that yesterday I was on twitter and caught Amber from PB&PRs re-tweet on an article written by VegaTeam (more on them later) titled, How To Overcome Three Top Mental Challenges In Marathon Training. It is a very well-written article that talks about dealing with Pain, Intensity, and Fear, three things I know I need help on.

The article first talks about how pain is functional or non-functional. When it’s the latter, obviously the runner should stop to prevent injury. But the article talks about how when it’s the former type of pain, we can use it and control it however we’d like. Ultimately, we decide how we want to interpret functional pain.

“The defeatist mindset interprets pain to mean this sucks, I obviously didn’t train hard enough and now I’ll never achieve my goal. The competitive mindset, on the other hand, interprets pain to mean my body is talking to me to either let me know I need to adjust some aspect of my activity or dig deep for that extra motivation to power through. Once pain becomes less of an enemy and more of an ally, you can use imagery (A.K.A. visualization) to power through.”

The second topic on the list is understanding intensity. Recently, Rae at Darlin’ Rae talked about how important it is for us to take our “easy” runs seriously and I thought about her words while reading the article. The article emphasize listening to our body cues and using that as a guide to determine intensity. I dig.

Finally, the article addresses coping with fear. This is a big one for me along with the first, pain. I like that article acknowledges fear as a real thing and not something easy you can just ignore. The article does state however, that like pain, it is something we can control and offers suggestions on how to do it.

1.) When negative thoughts creep in, review past accomplishments
2.) Turn fear into challenges
3.) Feel your fears but do it anyway

Check out the article for more details on the above. It’s a good short read.

Publicizing Your Goals

My buddy at A Fast Paced Life recently wrote about the disadvantages of announcing your goals. This immediately sparked my interest as you usually associate announcing your goal as brave and conducive to achieving said goal.

But Cardamom makes some good points.

The researchers postulated that when people make their goals public, they receive praise and accolades just for setting those goals. Because they already received the reward (i.e., praise, attention), there is less incentive to fulfill the goal. Attention given to your public goal brings a premature sense of having already accomplished the goal by having your identity as a member of the group affirmed by other people.

I nodded my head reading this thinking yeah, that does happen. But at the same time, I think that how important the goal is to the person, finalizing it–making it come to life, is a huge factor in how easily they are affected by premature praise. Some people aren’t comfortable with praise unless they know they deserve it.

Very interesting article and topic, and I’d love to know your thoughts. Make sure you read her full article here.

The Shake Debate

Finally, last Friday I wrote about a few things I would never in Hell-y Land try, one of them being shakes (i.e. Herbal Life, Shakeology, Advocare, Plexus, etc.). For the most part, people agreed that the abundance of these companies that promote shakes is a little exasperating (like one commenter on another blog said, there’s a reason it’s a multi-million dollar industry), yet there were some who were offended that these companies they like and endorse get bad reps.

I don’t know the details of every single product, one person was offended that I associated their company solely with shakes (they offer pills and supplements as well). What I do know and what I dislike, is that there are a lot of people who think that the only way they can get healthy, get faster, get thinner, get whatever is by spending a lot of money on something they might not even need.

I know quite a few people who really like some of these companies, who promote them, who use them in their daily life and have noticed positive changes. I have a friend who works for Isagenix in one of their main offices. I have multiple friends who are Herbal Life and Beachbody coaches. In fact, I stalk follow Robin @KneadToCook who is a Vega Sport ambassador. She’s so unlike me in many ways. She’s really fast, she eats really, really healthy (she’s vegan), and she swears by Vega Sport, a clean, plant-based, natural nutrition system. Her recipes using the product seriously make me salivate.

These friends are great people who I really care about and I don’t judge them on what they believe truly works for them. I just don’t think people can expect others to readily accept something they’ve never been comfortable with or are not ready to try. I can respect other’s opinions on their beliefs in a product no matter how much I might disagree, I’d hope they’d respect my viewpoint in return.

So there you have it, I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers with my anti-shakes post last week. I honestly respect those who use them, endorse them, swear by them. Right now, it’s just not for me. Maybe that will change in the future as I keep seeing Robin’s Instagram pictures of her food, and maybe it won’t (because you all know how much I looove cooking–except not!) 😀

Have a great week friends!! We’re getting closer and closer to TGIF! ❤ , helly

–Do you struggle with mental toughness while running?
–Are you comfortable publicizing your goals?
–Thoughts on the shake debate?

22 responses

  1. Mental toughness – the struggle is real! My first two big races this year I let myself get defeated (both by the sun and my mind). I can pinpoint a time or two in both races where I “gave up” on myself for a bit. Buuutttt…knowing that now, I’m going into fall training a little differently. Hopefully I’ll be able to work through it. When I started this whole running thing last year, I publicized that I signed up for a 5K and yes, the accolades poured in, but then I felt that I had to go through with it so that I didn’t publicly fail. So I don’t know if I agree with that article. Shakes – not in my budget. 🙂 Great post Helly!

    • Yup, the mental toughness thing is my biggest struggle. I feel as time has gone I’ve gotten better but boy, it’s tough.

      Totally agree with the not wanting to publicly fail if you publicly announced your goal lol!

  2. Hey, thanks for the little shoutout, there! I agree with you about the whole shake thing in that it’s just not for me. I keep thinking to myself, if this product is such a magic cure-all, then why isn’t everyone using it, and why isn’t everyone thin/strong/fit? I’m sure it works beautifully for some people, but I can’t justify spending tons of money on something that may or may not be just as effective as watching what I stuff in my face and increasing my activity level. That being said, I have been using protein powder lately, because I know I don’t get enough protein in my regular diet.

    • I totally agree with Rae–and not simply because she’s part of Team Can-Am! 🙂 A quasi-friend of mine joined LA Weight Loss once and part of her diet involved eating some “magic bars” a few times a day–and they apparently helped one lose weight, fight acne, eliminate stretch marks, etc….and they were like $5 a piece and she had to eat like 2 or more per day. Much like Rae said, if that really worked, then we’d all look like this.

    • And even then, you could just increase it within your diet. 🙂 But yeah, protein shakes are common and widely used–my rants are more towards the meal replacement shakes ja! Like you said, if it’s so magical, why isn’t *everyone* using it?

  3. So weird you should post this. I was doing a track workout today and thinking about my upcoming races. I used to do a little pre-race post and I was thinking I might stop that. My post would go over things like my time goal for the race, and what my strategies will be for pacing and fueling. But it seems whenever I post about a goal, I rarely achieve it! I don’t mind telling people what I’m shooting for and that doesn’t scare me, but it almost feels like I jinx myself when I do it!

    • Hmmmm, that’s interesting! It’s gone both ways for me. I’ve posted my goals and achieved them (my sub 2 hour half marathon, breaking 25 on a 5k) but I’ve also completely bombed (shooting for a sub 4:30 marathon and then not even finishing the race).

      I personally like reading about people’s goals and following their journey to achieving (and even not) them. I like to see their hard work pay off and I like to see what they learn if they don’t meet their goal and how they come back from it.

      I say do it and this time you WILL meet your goal! 😀 ❤

  4. I definitely struggle with mental toughness. I just went back to basics to try and get my mojo back. Ugh, the shake debate. The people that use it are pretty defensive about it and the people that don’t think it’s worthless. I think everyone needs to find what works for them and if shakes are it – fine. Where I get annoyed is through the MLM process of it all. I don’t need to join your “team” / email you to learn more or pay gobs of money in order to have a healthy lifestyle! 🙂 *steps off soapbox

  5. I’m struggling a lot with my mental toughness these days. After being injured for 6 months it’s been hard getting back into feeling like my runs are good runs. (However, they are good runs but mentally they just don’t feel that way.)
    I like sharing my goals and have no problem adjusting them as needed – we are human after all.
    As for the “shake-post” – we are all allowed our opinions. I feel the same way. I haven’t yet felt the need to purchase those products but do use some of the Vega line as my husband got me hooked (more the hyrdator than anything). I appreciate those people who are making a living with those programs but it’s just not for me.

  6. I could read blogs all day and have to have a “limit” too, especially with all the new reading for grad school. What can I say, I like reading what’s going on with my peeps haha:)

    Mental toughness. Oh boy. I could be in the best shape, but my brain can be a little stinker sometimes. I’m able to embrace the pain itself in workout or race pretty well, but if I’m not hitting a certain pace that I should be, I have those negative thoughts about myself and training and then my pace slows even more because I get so anxious about it.

    I’m hit or miss with publicizing my goals. I was nervous to put my 5k goal this summer out there, but I did. I get nervous whether are not other people will think it’s realistic or think I’m crazy ha…yeah I need to work on that fear thing;).

    We have similar thoughts with the shake debate. It’s personally not for me, but if it works for other people and their health and fitness goals, I think that’s great. I’m just not a liquid/pill/supplement person. As in I even want the actual ice cream more than an ice cream shake :D.

    • My brain can be a little stinker too lol!
      I love that you put your goal out there and it IS crazy because you’re crazy fast and seeing those numbers is so insane. It’s freaking awesome you can do it!!

  7. All of these are great. I often chat with my athletes about how they need to play the coach in times of struggle. When you are in a race and alone you need to be the coach and honestly as a coach I spend most of my time sharing positive vibes. It is the only way to push through.

    • Totally agree. I was talking about this with a friend on how awesome it is to run with people but how I also like to run alone because during the actual race, I’ll be running alone. I need to also train myself mentally for that

  8. I feel pretty good about my mental toughness. When I’m in an “A” race, I can really dig deep for as long as it takes. It’s definitely taken time to get there, but I’m really happy with where I’m at!

    I saw that study and thought it was kinda interesting. I don’t mind publicizing goals. For me, in the end, what matters is what I think of my own performance. Support from other people is nice, but really all I care about is how I feel about my own performance (at some point, I’ll probably care what my daughter thinks too!)

  9. Love this honest post. First, I used to really struggle with the publicizing goals thing. but now, I always do it.!! I like the accountability of it. Maybe not every little goal though, I think big goals and the ones that really mean a lot to you are important.
    and secondly, I hate shakes. haha. I think it’s the dumbest fad right now. :p