Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


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Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


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Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


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Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

  ·  3 min

Ask The Fitness Psych: Morning vs. Night Runs and Pre-Race Mental Tips

In the first installment of the RockMyRun ‘Ask The Fitness Psych’ blog series, fitness, sports and health behavior science coach Dr. Michael Mantell answers questions from RunRockers! Is it better to run in the morning or at night? – RunRocker Bree Here’s the simple answer: whenever you can enjoy it the most. That said, there are some technical and physiological considerations to keep in mind. The best time to exercise, including running, is when your body temperature reaches a peak and your muscles are most supple, commonly in the late afternoon. Early morning runners enjoy the motivational jolt it gives the day, despite the fact that it’s not considered the best from a physiological perspective—stiff muscles and low body temperature don’t make for an easily executed run. If you are training for a race, which most often gets started early in the day, it’s a great idea to run in the morning to be prepared for the big “ready, set, GO.” While running at the end of a workday can be a mental challenge, there is research that suggests there is an increase in lung function and peak performance later in the day, making the run surprisingly easier to do.I’m relatively new to racing (obstacle/road). I’m having a hard time getting psyched up. Then I have trouble settling my nerves. Do you have any pre- race techniques I could use? –RunRocker Sean“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winnerI’ll offer you a number of tips to get yourself mentally ready to settle your nerves and avoid any mentally created obstacles.Rehearse the race before you cross the start line. This requires you to plan out your speed, stride, step and pace.Be sure you’ve accustomed yourself to the course you are going to run. This will help decide when to use associative or dissociative thinking style along the path, especially as you break the run down into segments.Plan your thoughts across the run in advance. Associative thoughts are about your bodily sensations and self-talk. Dissociative thinking is used to distract you from fatigue, such as music, counting, fantasizing, people watching. Associative thinking is typically connected to faster running times, and used at key times during a race to propel the runner, while dissociative thinking is often switched to when fatigue and pain set in.Self-talk is not always a bad thing. What are you telling yourself or predicting before you start? Make sure to encourage yourself and not predict in your mind obstacles that don’t exist.Goals? Focus on process goals, not the outcome. Compare and despair at your own risk. It’s not an “all or nothing” run. Run without expectations except to meet your goals along the way.Stay physically relaxed using deep and slow breathing and use mind-body internal reflections to scan your body for tension to be released once you find it. Visualize the race using all senses – see yourself running, image what people look like along the way and watch yourself crossing the finish line in good spirits. Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  ·  4 min

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform. Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.Music listening runners, unite!I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runnerI will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my paceBelieve it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work throughI believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Fab Five Running Commandments

  ·  2 min

Fab Five Running Commandments

Running season is here and I’ve got some more running knowledge to drop on you all! Believe it or not, there are running etiquette rules, and if you’re like me, unfortunately you’ve been on the receiving end of all of these scenarios. So, to make the world a better place, take note and try your best to abide.Thou shall nod hello.  It’s common courtesy.  When somebody waves, you wave back.  When somebody says hello, you respond.  Don’t get so caught up in your miles that you cannot simply say hello to a friendly walker or runner.Thou shall be realistic.  We all know that guy at the beginning of the race: The one who creeps up to the starting line to take off with the elite runners.  The only problem is there is nothing elite about this guy except for his outfit.  He’s got the shorty shorts, the calf tights, the arm bands, and the sunglasses, but he’s also got a very slow running speed.  Don’t be that guy.Thou shall commute respectively.  There is nothing wrong with running or riding in to work or to the bus stop in the morning.  In fact, I think more people should try doing this.  Uncle Ben (Spiderman), however, reminded us all of a very important lesson:  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Nobody wants to be sprayed with your sweat when you get to the office.  If we want to get wet, we’ll go run through the sprinklers.  Worse, nobody wants to smell your post-run, not-so-beautiful body odor.  Do us all a favor, plan ahead and have a change of clothes and, even better, TAKE A SHOWER!Thou shall have some common sense.  Running with the traffic, rather than against it? Running through the hand signal at a busy intersection?  Yep.  As a matter of fact, both of those ARE great ideas.  Every driver out on the road is there simply to accommodate you, so there’s really no need to think logically while running.  Go ahead and ignore the rules of the road, it’ll all work itself out.  (Note the sarcasm in this section—and please, always abide by the road rules).Thou shall dress with dignity.  Dudes—Do us all a favor and cover up the man mane.  Nobody wants to see that sweater of chest and back hair.  Throw on a tank tee if you’re trying to get some sun, but cover up for cryin’ out loud.  Ladies—Please, if you’re not getting paid to wear minimal clothing, then don’t wear minimal clothing.  That’s all.Do you have any of your own Running Commandments?  If so, what’s your top rule??  Leave us a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog. 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


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