Tap into Health: Seven mental discipline tips for endurance training

Running dozens of marathons over the course of 25 years requires a level of mental discipline few can match. Lisa Palmiotto, fitness director at Old Town Hot Springs, has spent more than 25 years of her life training herself and others to run marathons.

Palmiotto, a mother of six, says she got into running because it was a healthy activity that took her outside with her kids, often pushing them in a jogging stroller during exercise. “It was my way of keeping my head in the right place to take care of all my kids,” Palmiotto said. “I thought of it as mindfulness and focus.”

Since then, Palmiotto has worked with a variety of endurance athletes, including professional sailors, baseball players, and marathon runners. As the new Director of Fitness at Old Town Hot Springs, Palmiotto brings her expertise to local athletes and acts as a coach, mentor, and accountability partner. Here are her tips for building and maintaining mental discipline with endurance training.

Listen to your body

Listen to your body’s messages as you exercise. If you’re feeling good, keep pushing, and if you’re feeling bad, try to assess why you’re not feeling good. A journal can be very helpful in this process. Palmiotto suggests writing down what you eat, how you exercise, and how you feel each day during your exercise program. Fatigue or lethargy may indicate a problem with nutrition, hydration, or rest that needs to be addressed.

Focus on the present moment

Don’t let your mind drift into future reps of your workout, focus on the present moment and the activity. “Marathons run one mile at a time,” Palmiotto said. “A marathon consists of 26 repetitions of a mile. Focus on the mile you run, not mile 20 or 26.”

This philosophy can also be applied to weightlifting and other workouts in the gym. “Don’t worry about what your third rep set will look like while you’re still doing your first,” Palmiotto said.

Plan your pace in advance

Before diving into your fitness routine, create a plan for your approximate pace through your training milestones. For runners, this can seem like estimating your time for each kilometer of your run and tracking your time on a watch. At the gym, this could mean planning an approximate time for each rep set and limiting parts of your workout to 5 or 10 minute intervals.

Work with a pro

For aspiring athletes, Palmiotto recommends working with a professional trainer, nutritionist, nutritionist, or fitness instructor to develop a training plan tailored to your fitness level and goals. Even if you can only afford one session, the information from these pros can help you create a realistic training plan and prevent overexertion.

At Old Town Hot Springs, endurance athletes can take classes and programs, or sign up for one-on-one coaching with Joanne Orce. Orce offers training programs for the Steamboat Marathon, Ironman competitions and more.

Find an accountability partner

Another tip Palmiotto suggests is to find a responsible partner, even if that partner cannot or will not conduct the workout or exercise program with you. This could be someone checking your journal notes on your progress or cheering you on during your workouts.

Get enough rest for recovery

One of the most important components of athletic training is getting enough rest to boost muscle recovery. Endurance athletes should get at least 8 hours of rest each night during their training and before their competition.

Take up yoga for mindfulness and injury prevention

“My suggestion for anyone walking in Old Town Hot Springs is to take one yoga class a week,” Palmiotto said. “It’s great for mindfulness, focus and injury prevention. I ran marathons for eight to nine years before I took my first yoga class, and I always had injuries. I haven’t had any injuries since I started yoga.”

Old Town Hot Springs offers a variety of yoga classes throughout the week. Visit the online timetable to find a course that suits you.

Sarah Konopka is the Marketing Director for Old Town Hot Springs. Visit OldTownHotSprings.org for more information.

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