How to Avoid and Push Past "The Wall"

How to Push Past "The Wall"

When the wall is so great and wide that it's unavoidable, Murray looks to his certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming to offer solutions to run around the wall instead of into it.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming—commonly used to treat and cure phobias, habit disorders and learning disabilities—is a way of dealing with mental and physical pressures by changing the way you view certain situations, particularly stressful ones. In this case, hitting the wall can be considered a stressful situation, especially if it's in the middle of an important race.

The first thing Murray recommends is a mental exercise you should perform before any run, whether it's a training day or the morning of a race.

  • Picture your body, emotions, physical feelings and the environment throughout the entire run. If this is on race day, visualize the car ride from your house or hotel to the course, your warm-up, each mile of the race and, finally, crossing the finish line.
  • The most important thing of this visualization is to be realistic about what you'll encounter during the day. This means you should expect to potentially feel some discomfort and negative thoughts. Mile 23 might always be particularly difficult for you during your marathon training runs, but if you prepare yourself for these feelings, your mind and body are better prepared to deal with the stress of the situation.
  • When your mind and body are familiar with certain emotions and physical feelings—even if they were only in your mind—the situation is not such a big deal compared to something that you weren't expecting.

Murray also stresses the importance of training the way you wish to perform in a race. This also allows your body and mind to more easily recognize the discomfort and negative thoughts you may encounter on race day, moving these feelings quickly out of your mind.

More: Positive Self Talk: Inside the Heads of America's Top Runners

About Those Voices in Your Head...

A second, more fun way of dealing with any negative dialogue you have during a run is imagining that voice as a result of sucking in a helium balloon. Think back to any time you've heard someone say something after inhaling the helium in a balloon—it's hard to take him or her seriously, right? When you apply this same principle to the voice in your head telling you to stop running, you will find it much easier to laugh them off and push the negativity out of your mind.

When You're Just Not in the Mood

For those days when it's particularly difficult to get out the door or you're just not feeling your workout, Murray suggests reminding yourself of the purpose of what you're doing. Whether you're running to get healthier, de-stress or train for an upcoming race, stating the purpose of your workout will reframe any negativity as a means to an end. Instead of one stand-alone workout, think of your run as a building block to a larger goal well worth any temporary discomfort.

To learn more about Neuro-Linguistic Processing, get coaching from Will Murray or buy his book, visit www.fourpillarsoftriathlon.com.

More: Train Your Brain to Help Your Run

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About the Author

Erica Schuckies

Erica Schuckies is an online content editor for Active.com. After graduating from Colorado State University, she spent time working in the rodeo industry, followed by three years with Berkshire Hathaway's Business Wire. Erica enjoys fitness, running, hunting, fishing and being outdoors. Follow Erica on on Twitter, Instagram or Google+.
Erica Schuckies is an online content editor for Active.com. After graduating from Colorado State University, she spent time working in the rodeo industry, followed by three years with Berkshire Hathaway's Business Wire. Erica enjoys fitness, running, hunting, fishing and being outdoors. Follow Erica on on Twitter, Instagram or Google+.

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