Tired is JUST a State of Mind


Tuesday’s swim workout was tough.  It was 2,800 LONG yards.  It wasn’t a terribly hard workout on paper, but my arms were still {really} tired from Sunday evening’s 2 mile swim.  I felt fatigued during the warm-up on Tuesday morning.  The WARM-UP!!  Not what you want to feel when you have 8x100yd repeats and then 4×200 yd repeats in the set. I can’t even describe to you {how close} I was to calling it a day after the warm up.


You always hear about how tired you will be when you train for an Ironman.  But I never fully understood just how tired.  It’s not the tired that I’m used to when I am training for a marathon and am mostly focused on running.  Yes, my legs are tired, but they actually aren’t as tired as they are after a hard mile repeat workout or 20+ mile run.

This is a different kind of tired.  My whole body is tired.  It’s more of a general fatigue and flat out exhaustion.  Ironman training is a new ballgame for me.  One day it’s a hard swim.  The next it’s a tough bike ride.  The day after that, it’s an hour run with 800m repeats tossed in the middle for fun (ps. there’s NOTHING fun about that).  The next it’s a steady state brick.  And those are just the weekday workouts.  The weekend ones are even more intense.

But I’m learning each day.  I’m training my body with each stroke, each pedal, each step.  But even more importantly, I’m training my mind.  I’m conditioning my mind that despite the complete exhaustion my body feels, that I CAN keep moving further.

You can always do a little bit more than you body thinks it can.  

That breakthrough was Tuesday morning for me.  My arms were on fire by the 4th 100m repeat.  I forced myself to embrace the pain (as I’m much more comfortable with doing during running) and focus on one stroke at a time.  It’s funny but I revert back to things that work during marathon training.  Just like focusing on each mile during a long run, I focused on each length of the pool.  Knowing I had 1,500 yards left was wiped from my mind.  I concentrated on just getting to the other side of the pool.

Later that night, I had a 90 min trainer session with 8 x 5 min long hill climbs.  Brutal.  Yesterday’s workout wasn’t any better: 55 min run with 5 x 800m repeats.  I wanted to cut both workouts short.  But I didn’t.

I’m learning that I will always be tired during Ironman training…especially towards the end of each week.  And each new week brings longer and more intense workouts.

BUT, I’m also learning that my mind is stronger than my body.  So even when my body thinks it’s ready to quit, my mind is prepared to keep pushing.

Regardless of what you are training for…an Ironman, marathon, or even your first 10k or 5k…learning to keep pushing when your body is tired will help you on race day.  How can we expect our bodies to keep moving forward when it really counts if we never test it during training?

I’m working on remembering that tired is JUST a state of mind.

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    28 thoughts on “Tired is JUST a State of Mind

    1. Pingback: Karena perasaanmu bukanlah Tuhan.. – SECOND LIFE

    2. Tired is absolutely a state of mind. In many of my marathons, I went through patches where I was exhausted and dealing with negative thoughts. I worked through these moments by mentally repeating positive affirmations and if by magic, I discovered I had the ability to keep going and finishing strong.

      I am sure most runners will agree that we all have had days when we feel so tired before going out and dealing with that internal dialogue of ‘how am I going to make it through this workout’?, and then wind up having an awesome run!

    3. I definitely needed to see this post today! I’m new mom to a 3-mont-old boy and I start training for my 6th marathon soon but I feel absolutely exhausted lately. I was supposed to be up at 4:30 am for a run before my husband and son woke up, but slept through that one. My motivation: Tired is just a state of mind. Marathon training with a baby will be harder, but is definitely do-able! You’re blog is inspiring – it definitely helps me to read about other breastfeeding-mom-runners.
      Amy @ {Life to the Full} recently posted..A Day in the Life: Designing, Running, and Diapers!My Profile

    4. You know, I read something similar in some mind/body connection, probably from Deepak Chopra.
      But yes, there’s truth to what you’re saying! I’ve observed it too, and I think it makes sense. If you can convince your mind you have the strength to boost up your stamina and go on, the tired state seems to become.. powerless, for lack of better word.
      Sally recently posted..Chest Workouts for MenMy Profile

    5. I am in for a rude awakening come the latter weeks of marathon training. I have yet to push my body into that pain/uncomfortable/tired zone. I think my hardest run yet was my 10k PR that I felt horrid through. I’m pretty sure the first couple of times (long run/speed work) I will give in and be angry about it. Hopefully I can remember to channel in your words and push through it! You’re inspriring me.
      beka recently posted..CLICK-Starting My Week With A Review RoundupMy Profile

    6. I love this. You are so right. I can always push through a tough workout when my mind is on board…even when my body is tired. But if my mind is not there – forget about it! Whenever I want to quit, I usually think to myself – “Ok here’s where the training switches…up to now, you were training your body. Now for the rest of this run, you’re training your mind.”

    7. I love this idea in general, I just wish it were totally true. I think if you are healthy in all other aspects that it is just a state of mind, certainly when I was first training for marathons it was only me and my mind…now it’s me, my mind and what my healthy agree too on the same day :)
      Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Clean and Lean ChallengeMy Profile

    8. Your dedication is inspiring and your positivity is contagious! Thanks for the reminder that tired is just a state of mind. It’s so true, but so easy to forget!
      Janet recently posted..Lessons learnedMy Profile

    9. Whew, that sounds so exhausting. I’m completely wiped out this week just from the heat and humidity, and have been a serious slacker with my workouts. It’s tricky when there is nothing on the schedule. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder!
      Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..What I ate at BLENDMy Profile

    10. Awesome post Michele! You’re a beast! I’m working on embracing the pain (as you say) as I start after-school workouts and longer runs for a HM coming up in June. Thanks for the inspiration!

    11. You need to trademark “One Mile at a Time” “One lap at a Time” Yes it was tiring reading how you are training and its also inspiring. I ran the Brooklyn half focused on what you said after your NJ Marathon recap of focusing on “One Mile at a Time” and I ran a really good race. I kept my focus on the next mile not how many I ran or how many left to run. By mile 12 I felt strong enough to speed up even more and finish strong. That was great advice.
      Stephen Jackson recently posted..Be a Good Social Media Citizen During DisastersMy Profile

    12. I’d say that’s about right. Our bodies are pretty amazing machines and with the right mindset in place, we can push them pretty hard. That said, I agree–IM training is exhausting. I give you so much credit for pulling it off with two little ones at home. Pretty sure I couldn’t do that!
      misszippy1 recently posted..Summer of MAFMy Profile

    13. I have recently joined the blogging community of runners and you are so inspiring! I felt exhausted just training for my last half-marathon. You are a Momma warrior! I can’t wait to read more about your training. You are going to kill that ironman.
      Jacinta recently posted..Sleepless in Green BayMy Profile

    14. It takes me until 1500 yards in my swim workout before I decide that I am not going to call it quits for the day. Every single time, I think about quitting in the first half.

      And I am loving the Ironman exhaustion. It makes workouts hard, but post-workouts I feel like I did something pretty awesome that day.
      Robin recently posted..Where Do Triathletes Live?My Profile

    15. Holy cow! I got tired just reading about all of that training! You’re going to rock your Ironman! It’s nice to read that it was difficult but you kept pushing through even when you wanted to give up after the warm-up! It’s motivation for me to push through workouts when they get difficult!
      Ashley @ OurPersonalRecords recently posted..Thankful ThursdayMy Profile