As with all other forms of physical activity, your body will always be stronger than your mind. What I mean about that is, that your body’s power is often let down by the lack of mental power to keep it going. Your mind will give up first, if you don’t figure out how to shut the mind off and focus on your body as a physical object and not as a slave of your mind. When your mind tells you that “this thing you’re doing is not within the comfort sone”, your body says “it’s fine, you can do this, just go on!”. And if you’re going to accomplish success when training your runner’s shape, it’s not going to work if you never get out of your comfort sone. Gains are, nevertheless, the result of pushing yourself.
Take long runs. Say you’re training for a long race, and you try to run a kilometer longer at each week’s long run. If you’re doing your overall training program right and you’re having progress in your physical abilites, you’re all okay for running a kilometer longer each week. What stops you, is the mental part. The last kilometer is tough, no way around that, but that’s getting out of the comfort sone and actually improving your shape. When the long runs get tough, leave your mind with something else than “this is not comforting”. That also require a lot of practice, but if you do focus on not getting stopped by your mind, you’ll get a long way. Let your body be the boss, not your mind.
Now intervals. My meaning about them? They’re one of the worst things when they’re in action, and one of the best things when done. Not only because I concentrate hard on pushing my mind and body through them, but also because they give amazing results when I really push myself to go on. At the end of an interval session, I literally throw my hands up in the air and let out a loud “YES!”, not caring if I’m at the gym or outdoors. When I run the intervales, I send my mind off to thoughts that are not about running. (Just remember to keep track on that stopwatch, so you don’t end up with some strange interval session completely off plan.)
My conclusion whenever I ask myself why the hell I even run, is that I truly enjoy it as long as I manage to keep positive in mind. I love the freeing feeling of running, as well as the amazing post-run feelings. I truly feel renewed after a good run! My point is, that running is going to feel tough anyway, but the rewards of it are worth all the tough time. The best you can do to make the whole running stuff better, is to train your mind as well as your body while you run. For me, running is a challenge 50 percent physical and 50 percent mental.