Friday, January 30, 2015

the wall is BULLSHIT


The figurative ever so scary "wall" that runners chat nervously about...
It's BULLSHIT! There is no wall unless YOU create a wall.
Yep, that's right, I said it. Some of you are sitting there shaking your head at me thinking, "yeah right, I hit that wall, and I felt it, it's there." Well I call bullshit! And I'm not apologizing for it.

I've Googled a hundred definitions of "the wall". The bottom line is it is a period in your event (be it an Ironman, a marathon, or more) when things go from hard to REALLY hard and BOOM, you're done. Fatigue sets in and the mind, simultaneously with the body, says, "no more!"

I say, if you hit a "wall" it's because you created it for yourself.

Endurance events are emotional roller coasters. Feeling amazing one second and like death the next is common. The body is tired but the mind is fighting; the mind is over it but the body drives on. Ups and downs, yes, I agree. But a wall? Get it out of your head. If you are worried about and visualizing this wall at a certain mileage, guess what's going to appear at that mileage? The more you talk yourself into something, the more likely it will happen. If you forget the mythical wall, it will disappear. I mean, do you still worry about the boogie man in your closet too!?

Now, I do believe there is bonking. This is completely different from the fairy tale wall. Bonking is when you're not properly hydrated, fueled, and/or trained. Your body is literally out of glycogen. But you know what, you created that problem too! Proper fueling for an endurance event is your responsibility for success. If this is what you consider "the wall", once again, YOU created it.

"...a properly trained marathoner who has strategized and races intelligently can cross the finish line without even glimpsing the mythical beast." That means, with proper training, mentally and physically, THERE IS NO WALL. So stop it!

If you insist on creating a bullshit "wall" (go ahead and make up stories of unicorns and leprechauns too)... Practice positive, self-affirmation - I CAN do this. I WILL do this. I am strong. I am an endurance athlete. I CAN finish. I WILL finish. I also like to do a body evaluation. I start with my toes, how do they feel? What are they doing? My arch, my heels, my ankles, my calves, my thighs, quads, glutes, my hips. What's in my belly? How much nutrition have I taken in, water? Electrolytes? How's my posture? What are my shoulders doing? My elbows, wrists, hands, fingers? Is my neck stiff, am I relaxed? My jaw, my face, am I breathing with my mouth and nose? All the way to the top of my head... Get it? Not only does this keep you associated with the RIGHT NOW but it's a good little 5-20 minute distraction. If you don't want to hit a wall, don't create one for yourself.

Being aware of your body through training, PROPERLY training, maintaining your nutrition and hydration <--- and then carry all that to race day... and guess what? You'll never have to worry about "the wall".

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