What Mind Games Do You Play on Yourself During Exercise?
When I run hard, I never tell myself that I’m halfway there. Everything I just did, do I need to do it again ? Useless thought. Instead, I use more creative math. After all, the first mile of any run is just a warm-up and the last mile is the gravy – if you only have a mile left, you can practically crawl home. So the tricky part is everything in between, and suddenly you’re just talking to yourself about running three miles instead of five. Three miles is practically nothing!
Certain routes help. By the time I finish the ( actual ) mile two of this five-mile path, the fountain is already at the foot of the next hill. Having reached the fountain, I am practically at the corner, where I turn left. The next mile will then be easy and smooth; as soon as this mile ends, we will enter the home stretch.
Or maybe you do sets of exercises or spaced repetitions. I once read an interview with a famous runner (I wish I could remember who exactly) who said that the most difficult replay is always the penultimate one, because on the last one you don’t have to worry about saving energy for anything after that. Since then, I no longer count repetitions until I finish; I say something like “two more, then hard and then easy.”
Scheduled workouts are a little more difficult. If you want to spend half an hour on a stationary bike, it’s best to have someone hold your attention – like the Peloton instructor nudging you to speed up during the chorus of a song, and then relax a bit on the next verse. I was biking indoors the other day and I didn’t feel like training with an instructor. But I was trying to get 40 minutes, which is a long time, so I started looking at the clock and giving myself rewards for every five-minute mark, like jumping off a bike to do push-ups or jogging for 30 seconds with the timer on. Run.
I know I’m not the only one who plays these little intellectual games. Our associate editor, Jordan Calhoun, told me he does something similar by checking his phone while on holiday: “after x sets I can check Instagram,” he tells himself, or “after x songs I can write this and that- then. back. “I also liked this twist on counting sets with physical tokens :
So now I would like to know: what kind of mind games do you play? How do you make a long workout seem short and a short workout done?