Run Struggle || Struggling To Run

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So, I ran to the end of the road, and when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured since I ran this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. 

That’s from the movie Forrest Gump, when Forrest (played by Tom Hanks) runs in scene after scene after scene. I didn’t realize it, but the producers were conveying a message of the running craze that spread across the US in the 1970s. 

Since then, running has captured the attention of millions of Americans. Thousands of road races and marathons occur each year, and running is the sixth most popular in the USA.

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Surprisingly the statistics show that the tendency is to decline from a start of just under 2 mil in 2000, Chart, line chartDescription automatically generated

Peaks in 2016 with 10 million just recreational runners.

Amazing for something that goes back to Ten thousands of years ago, hunter-gatherers like the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, ran 15-75 miles a day on the hunt. African Bushmen chasing down a gazelle. To normal everyday middle of the pack runners aspiring to do a run challenge, or set a personal best, or hey run the 5K park run right up to marathon

Which brings us to YOU: Welcome runner, tell me how are you currently doing? I am asking with the intention of understanding. So answer yourself without harsh words, or funny belittling remarks. 

You, Today, this moment in time.. year is almost over. With regard to your running of course. What is your summary? Perhaps you were plagued by injury. I hope not. But you know it happens sometimes and maybe the injury took a long time to heal, rehabilitations but surely you managed to squeeze in some runs before or of late. 

Maybe you had the year 2020 planned out with different venues and races you wanted to participate in. Or achieve the best time.Did it work out for you? Or are you full of regret?. Speaking of regret I was supposed to go and join my good Friend Morten and run a marathon in Spain with him. Picture this: I am the organizer, my daughter will come along, we all meet in the lovely seaside town of Tarragona, eat, run and enjoy. 

Well I couldn’t actually do the trip. I came down with I don’t know what I remember. I felt awful and couldn’t attend the race. Very disturbed I couldn’t do that. It happens to all of us. Get over it quickly.

Hey maybe your last race didn’t end the way you expected it to. And you sat there the rest of the days pondering as to what might have been, how it could have changed.

But again lighten up. You know not every year is linked with some or other great success. Especially the COVID year. Maybe you managed to lower your avg mileage and got some much required rest time. All good except if whilst pondering your year you realized, definitely not a trace of Forest Gump inside your run story. Not even a hint of running to the end of town.

Is it because perhaps you were continuously struggling? 

Struggling to get out of the house? Or struggling to run the distance. Struggling to put in an effort. Struggling to test yourself. What I mean is are the distances getting shorter, the run times too? 

Or maybe your run calendar entries have a lot of blank spaces in between them no matter how close you look you cannot explain or reason that this was some or other plan.

Well it is a good thing you found this show if you are a first time reader thanks for your support, thanks for joining. 

It is your run coach Heiko, the blog where we give you tools to improve your running. Tools that once you start using them you will realize deserve far more time and effort to learn. See, I understand, you are used to amazon prime, overnight delivery, getting information in quick easy to assimilate heaps.

But you, if you are reading so far then you understand that not everything in this world can be compressed into a swipe left or right and like or dislike.

Actually very few things of value are accessible quickly. The things that really improve you, be it a self help subject, or a course in personal fitness, or a running plan they all are a process that take time. That requires some in depth study and attention. They are processes which need to be adhered to. 

And yes, I admit, I also fall prey to this. For the past few months I have been trying to bake a soft dinner roll recipe. And guess what I haven’t succeeded. You know what I mean, those delicious soft bread rolls served before dinner. Mmmmh golden brown top, soft and delicious inside mmmh. Anyway I think I tried over 10 different youtube videos. 

Ranging from over enthusiastic Emma showing me in three easy steps, and tadaaa, to an Oscar winning video production but still I failed. 

My soft rolls, they are more suitable to build a house, or to use as a weapon if a bear chases you in the forest watch me throw those failed soft buns at him. Lol.

Why is that well because the steps might seem easy to follow, but it is a process. There are subtle differences in the ingredients, in the temperature and make a model of the oven. The expectations are the same. But looking at how the pro’s do it, and trying to copy it on the fly. Nope you won’t be successful. The only thing that gives you your result is investing and committing more time, and practicing.  Getting acquainted with each of the steps thoroughly. Thinking dwelling upon it, and sticking to one process that explains it so you can understand it.

And that pretty much sums up what is all about. See, if you want a training plan from a pro runner, go ahead. Buy it, download it, and try it. But, more than not it won’t help you develop as a runner. Sure there are some tips and insights in there. But if you don’t even have the routine currently to step outside and train hard, then what on earth do you want guidance from a pro runner?

How about learning a process that starts where you currently are. That understands that you have a mortgage to pay, a family that needs your attention. In other words, your time is valuable and limited. 

And it is usually here, at this junction where runners fail. Without even realizing it. Time just passes, and come on that marathon, it was just a dream you once uttered. That personal best 10K time, yeah but that was a long time ago. Now you are 2-4 , maybe 10 years older.

Hey readers up.

Are you failing to set a personal record? Did you ever fail to reach your goal?

Well it is not due to you being a failure. It is simply that you never thought about mental toughness. Mental resilience. 

Yes, some of you shudder when you hear those words. Reminds you of a strict parent maybe, or school, or worse an environment where you must meet deadlines, so mentally it equates to PRESSURE. 

What is mental toughness, and how does it relate to getting out there when the priorities are elsewhere? When the mood and energy level are way off from what is required. Ha, when the YouTube time warp is opening up ready to swallow you and spit you out hours later absolutely none the wiser, you cannot remember a thing you have seen, nor explain it to someone ha, maybe that someone cannot even read to you he or she is still down that rabbit hole.

What do you do to ensure your run remains a priority? 

You never thought about that?

Only if you start to think about it will you become a better stronger smarter runner. Whatever you run the story is.WE all started out at some point with a certain vision of how wwe want to be. Maybe 5 pounds lighter, or a medal hanging in your entrance hall. Maybe running with your dog, or participating in an event in a foreign country. 

There was a specific idea, yes? 

And you know that you only know your limit if you have tried  and tried and tried again.

But exactly here is the problem

If you’ve been around negativity a lot you might not even be open to trying. You settled. For less. That would be like me forcing myself to eat those rock hard supposed to be soft dinner rolls. Cutting off my nose to spite my face.

So does it mean you need to become tough? Yes, that would be a great facebook ad. Run hard. Ha Ha. 

What does being tough mean? No it is not that. It is learning as in school, no as in getting better.Well my definition is when a task is extremely difficult, but you dig your way into it, you dig deep to find out  and you get used to it.

After some time, you will be familiar with it. Bingo, you learnt something new. Soft buns require a certain yeast. I obviously used a different type  A process that takes you into the right direction. That ensures you stay on your road to your destination whatever it might be. Attend a park run every Saturday. Do a 21K with tough hill sections. Whatever your goal might be, with every TRY, with every STEP, every new km you run, you are exploring new territory.

Means back to basics again. The first thing is you need to show up. Sorry no shortcut, no virtual training. You actually got to go and get running. I have actually got to try another recipe for those soft rolls risking hurtful negative comments from my daughter’s laughter banter uh huh.

And usually here again, there are two types of recreational runners, those that yes I can, and those that no I cannot. What did you choose? Tell me 

Especially if you are currently struggling to go out frequently. To even put on your running gear, well maybe you put it on but you don’t make it out of the door.

So I saw a video on youtube of some pro runners. Well, they explained that all you have to do is a little more, and then a little more.

GREAT, isn’t that simple. But What about if you are struggling to get going. And to reach yesterday’s goal feels even harder. That’s the thing about running isn’t it. To improve you know you need to do more than before.

And for this you need to find a process that fits you. Again this hypnorum, or the courses I offer, are not for everyone. But what we address is the heart of the matter. The brain telling the body I CAN’T 

How I actually came across this growing up in South Africa, we as runners followed the studies of Tim Noakes . Where he compares two theories explaining how fatigue during exercise leads to failure and explores the history of our understanding of fatigue.

The Central governor theory. But little known fact here.. .this theory was discovered a lot earlier. A. Mosso in 1915 (1). Observing both animals and humans, Mosso concluded fatigue was the result of activity in both the brain and the heart and muscles (i.e., peripheral factors):

According to Mosso, while the contraction of muscles and the heart were the direct source of activity, the brain governed the degree to which these organs worked 

Then there was a study from Hill arguing exercise is terminated when the oxygen demand of muscles exceeds their oxygen supply. In other words, maximal cardiac capacity is the absolute limiting factor of exercise, and the brain plays no direct role in determining maximal performance (4). 

Noakes proposes an alternative model — the “central governor” model as opposed to the “brainless” model — rooted in the observations of coaches, athletes, and neuroscientists (13). This model, like Mosso’s original work, argues both (the muscles and heart) and the brain and nervous system) factors govern fatigue and failure — i.e., as S. C. Gandevia claims, “Human muscle fatigue does not simply reside in the muscle” (13, “Spinal”). 

The central governor model places the brain at the center of regulation. As exercise begins, the brain determines how many motor units to recruit certain factors: including motivation, recovery state, emotional state, and fatigue (14). As exercise continues, the brain regulates exertion to a rate that can be maintained for the expected duration of the activity. 

So there I just saved you a bunch of money spent unwisely on running shoes, socks, energy gels. 

Yup, clever isn’t it? Make 365 days run, one whole year of running Why who or what would you want to do that? And if your first thought is “I couldn’t do that” then definitely you should get the book. The link to the video you know what.. just go to youtube, enter “heiko stribl” and concentrate or you will get sidetracked and end up somewhere you don’t want to be.

And there is more running advice pertaining to matters of mental strength on there to whether you want to develop consistency, perseverance or are just interested in becoming a better stronger, and smarter runner so check it out.

Get going . Train your brain. You will be amazed to see what focusing on one single process will reward you with. Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

Thank you for letting me get carried away there… but please go for a run and remember take it easy.

My name is Heiko, God Bless You.


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