Running dozens of marathons over the course of 25 years takes a level of mental discipline that few are able to master. Lisa Palmiotto, fitness director at Old Town Hot Springs, spent more than 25 years of her life training herself and others to run marathons.
Mother of six children, Palmiotto says that she got into running because it was a healthy activity that got her outside with her children, often pushing them in a jogging stroller while she trained. “It was my way of keeping my head in the right place to take care of all my children,” Palmiotto said. “I thought of it as mindfulness and focus.”
Since then, Palmiotto has worked with a plethora of endurance athletes including professional sailors, baseball players, and marathon runners. As the new fitness director at Old Town Hot Springs, Palmiotto offers her expertise to local athletes, serving as a coach, mentor, and accountability partner. Here are her tips for building and maintaining mental discipline while endurance training.
Listen to Your Body
Listen to the messages from your body during your workout. If you feel good, keep pushing, and when you feel poorly, try to assess why you are not feeling well. A journal can be very helpful for this process, Palmiotto suggests writing down what you eat, your exercise, and how you’re feeling each day during your training regime. Exhaustion or lethargy can indicate an issue with nutrition, hydration, or rest that needs to be addressed.
Stay Focused on The Present Moment
Don’t let your mind drift into the future reps of your workout, stay focused on the present moment and activity. “Marathons are run one mile at a time,” Palmiotto said. “A marathon is 26 one mile repetitions. Focus on the mile you are running, not mile 20 or 26.”
This philosophy can apply to weight lifting and other gym based workouts as well. “Don’t worry about what your third set of reps will look like while you are still doing your first,” Palmiotto said.
Pre-Plan Your Pace
Before diving into your fitness routine, create a plan for your approximate pace through your workout milestones. For runners, this can look like approximating your time for each mile of your run and monitoring your time on a watch. In the gym, this could mean planning an approximate time for each set of reps and limiting portions of your workout to 5 or 10 minute intervals.
Work with A Professional
For aspiring athletes, Palmiotto recommends working with a professional coach, dietician, nutrition specialist, or fitness trainer to help develop a training plan that is unique to your fitness and goals. Even if you can only afford one session, the information provided by these professionals can help you build a realistic training plan and prevent overexertion.
At Old Town Hot Springs, endurance athletes can take classes, 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 an accountability partner, even if that partner can’t or isn’t doing the workout or training regime with you. This could be a person that reviews your journal notes about your progress or comes to cheer you on during your workouts.
Get Sufficient Rest for Recovery
One of the most important components of athletic training is getting a sufficient amount of rest to power your muscle recovery. Endurance athletes should get at least 8 hours of rest every night during their training and leading up to their event.
Take Yoga for Mindfulness and Injury Prevention
“My suggestion to anyone that walks into Old Town Hot Springs is to take one yoga class per week,” Palmiotto said. “It’s great for mindfulness, focus, and prevention of injury. I ran marathons for eight to nine years before I took my first yoga class and I was always having injuries. Since I started taking yoga I stopped having injuries.”
Old Town Hot Springs offers a variety of yoga classes throughout the week. Visit the online schedule to find a class that works for you.
Sarah Konopka is the marketing director for Old Town Hot Springs. For more, go to OldTownHotSprings.org.