Is Hitting The Wall All In Your Head?


This weekend I will be running the Chicago Marathon. I'm excited because I can't wait to 1. Run the damn race (Chicago is known for being flat and fast) and 2. Eat all the food (Vegan deep dish pizza!). I'm terrified however of running the race. Hurting my piriformis and the recovery afterwards made me miss about three weeks of running and some critical long runs. I was looking to smash my PR this race, but I'm not sure that's gonna happen.

In preparation for the race I've been nerding out watching YouTube videos of the course. Does anyone else do this?! When I was deep in my YouTube hole I stumbled on a video with an interview with a coach. (Posted below) He made an interesting point: He said that when we are about 80-85% done with something, our brains tell our bodies that we can stop. So that when runners hit "the wall" it's more that their brains are saying "You are almost done, you can stop now". 

My mind was blown.

My bookcase is filled with books that are 80% done. I never really 100% clean the house, I usually get most of it done and then call it a day. Any program or 30 day challenge I usually quit when I'm almost done. (I have, however, maintained a daily mediation practice that I'm proud of so I'm not a complete quitter!) I'm guilty of towards the end of a long run look for a reason to stop or walk.

Is hitting the wall all in your head? I know the physically why your body hits the wall, but maybe your brain has a big part of it too.

So my goal for this race is to complete it 100%. To go hard those last 6.2 miles and not phone it in. Which is completely feasible. I completed a 100k in June. Until I got injured I had been spot on with my training. I'm training for a 100 mile race in December so I've been running 22-29 miles as my long runs up until I got hurt.

It's crazy how you can talk yourself out of doing your best or look for an excuse to not give it 100%. So, my goal for this race, is to tell my brain to shut it's mouth and let my legs do their job.