The route to Gaelforce Glory relies as heavily upon the mind as it does on the body - Deirdre Galvin gives us some further insight

When out running, I sometimes struggle to keep my mind focussed on the task at hand, i.e. just running. Instead, my thoughts wander, and suddenly the next hill; that same hill I have run several times before; takes on the appearance of an unassailable mountain. Of course, there is no logic to this, simply I have taken the focus off my running, and let irrationality navigate my thought process. A very real instance of this 'brain ambushing' hit me on a recent, 9-mile run. If I am being honest, the signs were there from the off. Only a few minutes in, I started to question my choice of clothing layers, and decided that I was too insulated for the humid morning. So, I began rolling my sleeves up ,then down, then up, then....well, you see where I am going with this. Next up was the self-flagellation for the previous night's pizza, and ITS responsibility for my now, seemingly leaden feet. I got a good 2 miles out of this battle, my mind pin-balling between all the right foods I vowed to start eating (suffice to say that the vegetable aisle and I remain strangers!). And so it continued, until the bottom of a very long, and very steep hill. On a good day, this incline and I do battle, today we would go to war. However, I snaked slowly upwards, reasoning that better to be moving at a snail's pace than not moving at all. As an amateur athlete, training mostly alone, I know that every day won't be a good one. But on those particularly gruesome days, I dig deep and just keep moving.

The  last post to this blog referenced my hybrid bicycle. Alas, I have since viewed photos of hybrids, and my poor beauty's DNA is very much in question! I can only put that error down to ignorance, and instead declare my steed a standard mountain bike, with semi-slick tyres. I am no stranger to cycling, but I am of a generation where bikes only came in three varieties; BMX, Racer, or Mountain-Bike. Mine was a 5-gear,  maroon-coloured, Raleigh 'racer'.

 

As children of the 1980s, my friends and I cycled helmet-free, blissfully unaware of any potential danger to our cerebral functioning. Back then, helmets were the preserve of the mollycoddled, and bore all the hallmarks of being  terribly 'uncool'. Nowadays, only the very foolish will venture onto a busy road without a helmet. Consequently, I purchased my very first cycling helmet last week, and fortunately, no longer feel foolish!

Finally, a training tip. This week, go out and try short runs up a hill, but at a pace faster than jogging. I believe the professionals call it interval training! Sick of my self-professed, 'workhorse' pace on longer runs, I felt the need to liven up my muscles. With this mind, I picked a hill, a starting point along its steeper part, and a finishing point approximately 150 metres beyond. And then I just ran; as fast as I could, for as long as I could. I repeated this until boredom set in, and the tree that marked my finishing point moved mysteriously down the hill! Of course, there are more scientific ways of doing this, likely including heart monitors and fitness trackers. But for me, it is simply a case of moving as quickly as I can. I promise that you will reap the benefits on your next run, as your legs will feel lighter and your arms more effective.

Catch you on the flip side

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