Rough Patches

By: Spencer Mahon

So, I was working today (for those of you who don’t know my background, I am a producer of a local radio show in Cleveland) and the host of the show, Garrett Bush, said something about sports that really got me into a writing mood. Garrett said, “sports is human nature” and then went on talk a lot about the psychology behind sports. This made me think about how much psychology comes into play while running. 

Everyone has them. Rough patches in training, low motivation, etc. So let’s fix that, let’s talk about how I’ve gotten through rough patches in training and hopefully I’m able to give you some tips and tricks on how to avoid these patches as best as you can. 

1. Switch up your running location.

This sounds easier said than done. I am lucky enough to live in an area with a national park and one of the best metropark systems in the country pretty much right in my backyard and they’re all within a 35 minute drive of my house. I understand that a lot of people can’t afford to drive a fair distance away especially if they’re working full time. I work 30-40 hour weeks and part of that requires a downtown commute (my radio job) so even if I run downtown that’s enough of a switch up for me to where I am happy. I usually have 8-10 ideas of where to run and I choose as I drive. 

2. Go off roading. 

This ties into one a little bit but I’m not talking about going to Moto City or anything like that (but please do so if you wish) but go on mountain bike trails if you usually run on a bike path or on quiet dirt roads. I tend to opt for trails because I have easier access to them and there’s a lot more of them in my area. There’s a trail loop my group of training partners like to run in Cuyahoga Valley National Park called “Old Carriage.” You get some up and down but it’s mostly single track buffed out hiking trails with a few technical areas, it works well for switching it up and recruiting different muscles. 

3. Run with friends! 

If you don’t have any running friends in your circle, go to your local run specialty store’s group runs. Those always help people push themselves and be held accountable. I implore you to check your local run specialty store for everything there, run groups, races (because most of them will put on races), and other small events they do. You’d be surprised when I stop by a local race how many people I’ve seen either because I’ve seen them in store or have met them from racing in the area. 

4. Read or watch videos on psychology. 

This is a guilty pleasure for me. I am fascinated by human nature and the thought process of successful individuals like Eliud Kipchoge, Michael Jordan, Clayton Murphy or Magic Johnson. I know a lot of them have that “it” factor which seems to be rooted in belief and rooted deep in their psychology and I find it fascinating how the human mind can do the things that these folks have done and how they managed to develop it. So, I decided to read 10-Minute Toughness and watch a channel called Practical Psychology and that’s helped me understand so much of human nature and other people’s tendencies. 


That’s all the space I have for this first part. I’m going to have to write a part two to this, happy running!