Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Training Your Mind and Drymax Sock Review

As I close in my second marathon, mental strength is on my mind.  Thank you for all of your feedback and suggestions about what to do when all you want to do is stop. You all are pretty smart after all.

I want to know that when the going gets tough, my mind will pull me through. Lord knows it has before. I found a great article in Men’s Fitness that gave me some stuff to think about.

I don’t usually read Men’s Fitness because I’m not that into how to build strength in my penis and please my lady with my rock hard abs, but this one was pretty worthwhile. Oh, wait, that’s Men’s Health that has those creepy articles. Sorry.

It’s titled, “Breaking through the wall” by Michael Bane Men’s Fitness (1999). He looks at training your mind, pre-race, for the obstacles to come:

  • Accept that a portion of your race will be run on a mental panorama, and that it can be a scary place. It's a landscape littered with your own failures and successes, your pains and your losses. It's home to mythical creatures and places of legend, and your journey will be uniquely your own.
  • Understand that you may be beset by storms of powerful emotions - exhilaration, despair, fury. But like storms, these spikes of emotion pass and have no meaning. I once ran alongside a woman who described how she planned to kill her new husband, because she hated the bastard so much. I don't think she talked like that when she wasn't running.
  • Never question your goal. The completion of a marathon is more than an objective. It's a summit, like a beautiful mountain peak, and has the power to capture and hold a person's imagination. A trick I use is to "table" the mental discussion of whether this particular event was a good or a bad idea; I set it aside to deal with later. Then I focus on why this particular summit seemed so interesting.
  • Let go of judgments. While your mind is bouncing hither and yon, sooner or later it's going to land on the "Why am I running so badly today?" square. Rather than expend that mental energy on judging my performance, I repeat one of my favorite mantras: "Nothing proves anything."
  •  Negotiate with your body. Crazy as it sounds, I carry on a mental conversation with my body. Before the race, I explain what is expected and acknowledge that it's going to hurt. I apologize in advance and promise that I'll make it up to my body somehow. Amazingly, my body continues to believe me.
  • Finally, what do you do if you hit the Wall, when you meet your dragon? Why, nothing, of course. Keep running, that's all.

I think my favorite bullet point is about the peaks and valleys of the race. You will experience a full range of emotions and the only thing to count on is that they will pass and be replaced by something else.

Next up in a future p0st: Five ways to avoid the dreaded wall and what to do if/when you hit it.

On an unrelated note: I have found a new favorite running item. I follow Jamie Donaldson’s blog. She is an ultra runner from Colorado, but not just any ultra runner. She is the two time female winner of Badwater (2008 and 2009) and many, many other endurance running races.

I’ve had some blister problems recently and asked her advice. After suffering major running-blisters for years, she now swears by Drymax socks. In fact, they are one of her sponsors. She just ran and won the Philadelphia 100 Mile Endurance Run 14 hours 58 minutes – an average pace of 8:58 over 100 miles. Here are her feet after the race. Don’t see any blisters? That’s because there are none.


She offered to send me a pair of her blister blasters: Drymax Maximum Protection Running Socks (mini crew for running). Yesterday, I got these babies in the mail:


Today I tried them out. Jamie did not ask me to review these on the blog, but I had to. Just putting them on is like slipping on comfy slippers. They have a fair amount of cushioning, are made of soft material and a provide a snug fit. Once I started running in them on my track run today, I knew they would be my go-to sock because:

  • Majorly comfortable, cushy even
  • Flat toe seam
  • Breathable mesh on the top of the foot and toes
  • Blister guard system (uses material to reduce friction)
  • Dual layers to keep feet dry
  • Comfort, comfort, comfort
  • I can run 100 miles in them at an 8:58 pace

Unfortunately, these are not cheap, but after having tried them, I am willing to pay a bit more for comfort on long training runs and while running races. The best deal I found was $19.74 per pair from Amazing Socks.

Just a thought for you runners who are suffering the wrath of those pus filled bubbles. Ick.

Today’s funny (it’s not a post from me if it doesn’t have potty stuff). I got an email from Ken today saying this would be my mother’s day present. Nice and romantic. Because nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a flatulence deodorizer (fancy name for fart masker):


Now you know why I married the guy. Happy Tuesday.


  1. I love love love love love love my Drymax! They are FANTASTIC socks and a fantastic company. I wore them, loved them, wrote the company (because I do corny stuff like that) and got some great stuff in return. They are just awesome. My drymax got me through 31 wet and muddy Way Too Cool 50K miles and then through my AR50 Miler two weeks ago. I will never wear another sock!

  2. Glad you found some socks to love--it would stink to have blisters ruin your race. So true on the peaks and valleys. In my last marathon, which was a PR, I hit my first valley around 17. I just told myself to slow down a bit and ride it out. Pretty soon I was at a peak, so I took advantage of it and pushed the pace. Continued with the same routine to the bitter end.

  3. I like the advice here! My favorite was the what to do when you hit the wall! Just keep on goin'!
    Simple yet so true.

  4. thanks for the timely post... and I can't wait for the avoiding the wall one. I experienced some major valleys in my last long run. The point about tabling the "was this a bad idea?" mind game is something I'll remember.

  5. I love Drymax socks! They are fabulous. I only have one pair (because I'm too broke to buy anymore) and they get some serious love.

  6. I carry conversations with my body (parts and whole) all the time. The problem is that my body has a mind of its own and does not listen. Just like my teenage son. :)

  7. Those socks look awesome! I may need to invest in some this summer!!! :)

  8. I have to say, the whole advice column are words to live by! And, yes, Drymaxx ROCK!!!! You will love them, for sure!

  9. Thanks for sharing about the socks. I actually talked about my ongoing blister problem on my blog today!

  10. I often wonder how Marathoners get their brained wrapped around running 26.2 miles, for me 10 miles has a wall but I find it inspiring that so many push threw!

    I like your mothers day gift, at least he can laugh about it an not be grossed out right?

  11. Thanks for posting the stuff from Men's Fitness - that is great advice. I always like to remind myself that races are supposed to be hard - if it feels tough, I'm doing something right. :)

  12. good stuff from Men's Fitness. It seems for me i can read all these articles, and journals on mental strength and they do help a bit, but what I'm finding helps the most is just getting more racing experience under my belt.

  13. That's some good advice.

    I LOOOOOVE my Drymax socks! I wish they'd lower their price so I could get more pairs. :)

  14. Great post with lots of great info!

    I haven't tried those socks yet...wow are they expensive!! Definitely worth it if they get rid of your blister problem.

  15. Oh, post that follow up post soon...

    Cuz I didn't just hit the wall this past weekend, I smackdabstraightonRAMMED it last Sunday.

  16. Oh man, you and I are on the same page. I'm already negotiating with my mind and body about next sunday.!.!

  17. Excellent advice and ideas for dealing with the rough spots during a marathon, since they are pretty much inevitable. I'll be storing some of these for next month.

    Also *love* drymax socks. NO BLISTERS BABY!

  18. Every point is so true. Thanks for sharing. Those socks look great. I wonder if I can find them in South Africa? I've got some blister issues myself.
    Lovely mother's day gift!

  19. That is awesome about the socks!! Love the mother's day gift!! LOL :)

  20. This was a particularly awesome post with lots of yummy info! Thank you! That part about the peaks/valleys/range of emotions couldn't be further from the truth. I'm very afraid to run a marathon because of the mental game, but it's info like this that may prepare me if I choose to do it one day.

  21. Thanks, great post.

    I too have blister issues so I will try out those socks.

  22. Love this: "Finally, what do you do if you hit the Wall, when you meet your dragon? Why, nothing, of course. Keep running, that's all."

    And I luuuurve the Drymax.

  23. OMG, I can't believe you posted this just right after I posted about how I hit the wall the other day. Good timing and great article! I will remember to "just do nothing and keep running!" Best advice ever.

  24. Thanks for the great post and Men's Fitness article! Also, I have heard such great things about DryMax socks. Now, I'm going to have to go buy some this weekend...ha ha! :)

  25. I love Drymax socks, I have a hiking pair that I wear during the nasty central ny winters, keep me comfy dry and warm.

  26. i recently tried drymax socks and they are definitely great!!

  27. Wait, mens health has articles about penis exercises? How did I miss THOSE!? I'm going to need to renew my subscription soon.

  28. Great advice...and I am so going to try the drymax socks!

    You and your husband are quite the pair...you once again managed to make me laugh out loud :)

  29. I have to comment..I have been following your blog for a few months now (love it!)..and I saw this while shopping for a birthday present for my sister : http://www.cafepress.com/+runners_best_friend_sigg_water_bottle_10l,390808338

    I seriously think someone needs to buy this for you. ( ;

  30. Question for you: The day after a long run, say 18 - 22 miles or even a marathon, do you feel depressed or cranky? I'm trying to figure out if I refueled correctly or if it's simply over stressing.

  31. But Seacrest is SOOOO dreamy!!


  32. DryMax are the only socks I will wear on my long runs, I love them!!!

    Can't wait for more tips on the wall. I assume it will be things like keep running dumbass or you will never finish ;)

  33. Thanks for the review. I am a believer in good socks. I will need to give these a try.

  34. Just ordered 3 pairs ....Hope they work

  35. Drymax really enjoy.I think this is good socks.


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