The middle miles are always the toughest. You’ll be working through a race or workout and get to the half-way point and feel a real sense of relief. And then a few minutes later you start to have this sinking feeling of despair, “I’m only half-way done!” I’ve personally always hated this feeling and I know that whether you’re an Ironman, marathon runner or even training for shorter races, it has happened to you too. Don’t worry, I can help you fix this one.
The Middle Miles syndrome crops up primarily for the the same reasons that we’ve been talking all year here on the blog. Our thoughts shape our feelings. Our reactions to the physical stimuli around us are shaped by those feelings. So whether you are normally a “glass-is-half-full” type or a not, if you’re feeling dread around those middle miles you’ve moved your thoughts into the “glass-is-half-empty” zone. Once we begin to think about how far we have left to go, then everything we experience, from a little pain or a rain-shower, starts to make us feel bad.
Remember that we always craft our experience and our journey through our thought processes, so when you thought-space moves to “I have so far to go” then the natural reaction to difficulties is “I can’t go on” or “this is hard.” We need to move our thoughts back into a positive space and think “these miles are no longer than the ones I have done,” or “it’s just a little rain,” or “I’ll work through this pain in legs and feel better in a while.” We control our thoughts and thus we control the feelings that we experience.
But there are two other ways that can impact the way the Middle Miles feel in addition to moving our thoughts into a more positive space. The other two are 1) pacing and 2) nutrition. If you take all three of these items together, they form a three sided solution to that sinking feeling in that tough middle portion of the race.
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