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  • Kate Mihevc Edwards PT, DPT

Building the Resilient Athlete: Train More Than Just Your Body.

Do you feel crazy when you can’t run?

Like the rug has been pulled out from under you and you can’t find your balance?

I used to feel this way every time I had to taper for a race, I was injured, and then when I first lost running because of my heart. It’s no secret, runners need to run. When we don’t the world seems all wrong.

But injuries happen, tapering is part of training and sometimes no matter what we do we lose the thing we love most - running.

I have learned that part of the reason many athletes struggle is because they have spent so much time training their physical body and they haven’t done the work to train their mind. They know the importance of a holistic approach yet, they never follow through on it. If you rely only on your physical body to create quiet and calm in your mind, then you are most definitely in trouble. It’s great if you intellectually understand why mental, emotional, and spiritual health are important, but it means nothing if you do nothing about it.

To create resilience, improve performance and spend less time injured you must hold every aspect of your health with equal importance. Yes, I know, the act of physically running feels the best, but you can only run if your physical body allows you to. And at some point, it will break down for a few days, weeks, months or forever. Then you will be angry and wondering what went wrong.

Passion and enthusiasm for what you do is not crazy, running in the snow and rain is not crazy (at least to me), waking up before the sun to run before work is smart, but doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is true a sign of insanity. No wonder so many healthcare providers and non-runners think we are crazy. Because we don’t do the work, we need to do to stay healthy.

Let’s really do something crazy.

Let’s break the cycle and begin to take steps towards change:

-Include your mental and emotional training on your training schedule so you see it and do it

-Pull out a mindfulness coloring book to decrease anxiety and increase creativity

-Spend 10 minutes meditating daily to calm your mind and the voice in your head

-Move your body differently by doing Yoga, walking or Pilates

-Practice visualization. Sit quietly and run through your training or race in your head

-Stop talking to yourself so negatively and beating yourself up you are only human

-Listen to the cues your body gives you- if you’re tired rest. If you’re hungry eat

I know you know all these things are important. But they only help if you take the step to include them in your daily routine. Don’t try to do them all at once. Pick one, add it and be successful. Then consider adding more. Remember the first time you put your running shoes on? The anticipation, the excitement the uncertainty you felt. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and try new things, especially if they are going to help support you doing the one thing you already love. You got this.

Here are some tools to help:

Coming soon: Mindfulness Coloring book for Runners

XO Kate

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