Runners use mind games to conquer miles

Runners use mind games to conquer miles »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - As the countdown to the Eugene Marathon continues, hundreds of runners are logging their miles.

From music to running partners, runners have a trick or two up their sleeves to conquer the mental challenge of running.     

"You start to think, why am I - is there really a good reason for me doing this again?" said runner Jack Anderson.

Anderson is one of the local long-distance runners who brave the elements to run.

He is not alone in trying to trick himself into putting down the miles.

"I picture a string, like pulling me like a rubber band to the next mile," said runner Wendy Funkhouser.

"I listen for birds, their songs," Anderson said. "I look for them in the trees."
 
"I think you can't think about it too much or else you'll end up staying in bed," runner Kathleen Dugan said.

Getting through a long run can be just as hard mentally as it is physically. But runners say no matter what kind of mind games you play, remaining calm and collected is key.

"Going through my body and saying, OK, relax my feet, relax my calves, relax my thighs," said runner Sharon Gerl, "and I'm actually running faster doing that."

Gerl said she used to "overthink" her runs. But now it's a form of meditation, making a run a time when runners can let go, relax and reflect.

Studies call it  isassociation: any thought that's serves to distract the runner, such as listening to music or running with a friend, help the body go the distance.