Retrain the brain and the body will follow

Change is hard. Or is it? I definitely struggle with it, and I’m starting to work out why. Self-awareness seems to be the key.

Here I am working on running technique, as advised by the brilliant Josie Mitchell from London Sports Therapy  

Still over-striding, and just look at that juddering heel strike! But I’m determined to continue working on this. 

Physically, changing technique from over-reaching to landing forefoot under my body and pushing back, feels challenging (hello hamstrings!), different, but ultimately doable with practice. It’s my mind that holds me back. Resisting all the time. “This is hard, this is hard”, loops round and round my head, step after step. 

I pause to reflect. This in itself is quite a new concept to me. Pause to reflect. Such a vital gateway to discover, one which opens up the path to becoming more self-aware and understanding what on earth is going on up there!

Suddenly, a revelation hits me: my body doesn’t mind the change too much and can cope with it  – I am strong and fit enough. It’s my mind that doesn’t want to adapt. So often we hear the expression: “mind over matter”. In my case, I believe the opposite is true. I need to believe more in my body’s capacity to change, so “matter over mind” might be more suitable. My body can do it but my mind is doubtful, so I just need to get out there and do it, not pay heed to the limiting thoughts.

Now that I’ve realised this about myself, I can work on rebutting the discouraging thoughts and build up some mental resilience. So, on my next run, I’m going to try reframing the experience. Be ready with some comebacks to the negative thoughts. Shift the focus away from “this is hard” to “this is new, this is different”. I’m curious to see what happens, if it feels different. Indeed, if I feel more open to the experience.

I’m confident that deploying this mental strategy will help me to relax, and then this new running technique will flow more easily. I will update you on my progress in due course.

Have you had to change something recently, and have you found your mind resisting? What techniques did you use to overcome this?