Running Mental Block

Tony, I posted this on the Training Enhancement forum and Sonnon gave me an answer but reccommended I post here. So here's how it went: Sonnon, I was hoping you get help me with a problem. Recently, I ran for a bus and missed it. Normally this doesn't affect me, however I was late for prayer already and the next bus doesn't come for half and hour. Well, since then, I have been unable to run more than 10m! I always flash back to not being able to make that bus. I don't know what to do! I need to run. The weird part is I feel mentally exhausted after a few meters of sprinting but know I am not physically tired. Can you help? MS

MS, you already know the solution to your problem, even by the title of your message. From the sound of it, you had some major guilt for missing that bus, because of the sacred nature of your destination, I presume. It sounds like you are still carrying that guilt. There's an old story about two monks who were walking by the river when they came upon a woman who needed to cross but was afraid to do so. The older monk swept up the attractive young girl and carried her across. He set her down, with her thanks and they parted ways. The younger monk whispered to him, "how can you carry that woman across the river? It is forbidden to touch women." The older monk replied, "I set her down back there. Why do you still carry her?" Things happen my friend. The first thing you have to realize is that you need to let the event go. Don't "carry" it anymore. Training, like life, is about now, not yesterday. What you do in the past matters little to nothing. What you do NOW means EVERYTHING, for it is the bridge you build to tomorrow. The second thing you need to do is go outside now... Visualize the event that happened, missing the bus. Feel the guilt that you carry as a result of missing that bus. Rewind the memory to right before you miss the bus. Now, let the memory play out again but instead of the negative outcome, splice in your imagination, and play out the memory with the ending you wanted to happen - catching the bus, and making it to pray. Feel what you feel when you do this right; how happy you feel, proud, relieved. FEEL those sensations, and then say outloud, "Yes" and smile, and... run. Now go run that distance. Feel that exhiliration coursing through you. And if you encounter that negative visualization again, as you are running repeat the above process until you have successfully played out in your head again the positive outcome. Tell yourself aloud, "yes" - inhale and expand your thoracic cavity, and smile or grin or smirk at having conquered that demon doubt-canibal. frat., ss.

Then he told me to ask you since you are more intune with the mental aspects of training; Cerebral Engineering and such.

Thanx for your time


Mr. Blauer, if the statements I made earlier about Richard Dimitri and his relationship with you were wrong, I am sorry. At the time I was freinds with one of his students. Through him (the freind), I attempted to get Mr. Dimitri's side of the story since no story is completely one sided. Later as I put pieces together from both sides, I realized yours is closer to the truth. However, I am still under the impression that he has recently tried to remove any negative feelings between you two. If I am wrong about this and my eariler statments, I am sorry.



Though there are ideas and insights that can help you run better or harder, I think you should digest the wise thoughts of Scott Sonnon for now. Most importantly the 'letting go' principle.

Here is some Performance Enhancemnt material from my audio tape of the same name.

Just remember that anything but the focus of the goal [destination] is a distraction to completeling the task. By focusing on the next bus, the distance, the anxiety and so on, psychological fatigue creeps in [rather quickly].

You get the feeling or the thought first. How you address this is crucial.

There are two scenarios:

The brain creates images [of failure] to support negative feelings or when the mental image of failure occurs first, the brain then supports it by creating the correpsonding emotion.

Both create dissonance and doubt in the athlete. That is where fear management and self-coaching come into play.

The mind navigates the body


Thank you Mr. Blauer


I used to hate running as well, but have gotten over it after I started boxing. As with most things, necessity dictates. Just thought to share some personal experiences which might help you get over yours.

I was a really fat kid. Hit 85kgs before I even cleared 170cm. tighs were so fat that I would chaff them walking around too much in shorts. Ran the 2.4km at about 17+mins when I was 16. ANd I was actually trying! Think you should have an idea how bad it was.

Finally found the only boxing gym in my country when I was 18 and slowly started to reclaim my body then. Only learnt how to skip properly then. The training gradually got me into ok enough shape to even consider jogging.

After months of procrastination I finally attempted to jog around a park. First day was shite. Ended up doing more walking than jogging.

Had a conversation with a cross-country runner friend of mine where I found out that running is totally mental. It takes a mental impulse for you to start running and another for you to stop. That theoretically, you can keep running till you collapse out of exhaustion, rest abit, and continue running.

From that point on running became a more personal thing. It was no longer running against the clock or distance. I was running to beat myself into submission. I wanted to findout if I was strong enough mentally to run myself into exhaustion.

Decided to attempt jogging a 7 to 8km reservior 2km away instead of the park when I was able to do a few laps. The good thing able running around a reservior is that even if you do give up halfway, there are no shortcuts to take. You either finish the distance or do the equivalent backwards. Not bringing any cash forced me to walk/jog there and back as well.

The sky was threatening when I was on my way to the reservior one morning. When I was a quarter through the course the sky started its lightning show and drizzle.

Being the highest point on an otherwise flat area was enough to get me running for my life. As I was going to finish, the sun broke through the dark clouds. I felt as if I outran the storm and earned my right to exist that day.

The morning sky never looked more beautiful that day.

Kinda look forward to my next run nowadays. Like to think of as my quiet time. Me, the scenery, the sound of my footfalls and heartbeat, damp morning air on my skin and in my lungs, mind against body, me against distance.

I am still driven by the thought of running myself to collapse these days. The only problem being that it get harder each time as my body keeps pace with my will. But nevermind, my will be done on day!