Mind over matter

I’ve never been able to do a pull up in my life.  The past year I’ve been working on my core and upper body strength, which is more like upper body endurance as isn’t it impossible to really get upper body strong while running?

At the gym last week I was marveling at a fellow runner in his 60s reeling off pull up after pull up.  He gave me some advice and with some major effort and over a minute of struggling I did one.  He said to do them palms up as they are easier and do them at every workout and they will naturally be easier and you’ll be able to do more.

And he was right as after a week of persistence today at the gym I was up to four pull ups in a row.  They aren’t the prettiest pull ups you ever saw and everyone knows now to stay clear of the bar area to avoid being kicked by my flailing legs, but I get my noggin above the bar four times, so they are legit.

Anyways the Mind of Matter part of the story comes in now:  After doing my rep of glorious four pull ups today I came back to the bar at the end of my workout knowing I should be able to bust out at least two more pull ups.  And without realizing I gripped the bar palms down and started pulling.  To date I hadn’t come close to doing a palms down pull up.  I struggled mightily, but my mind said “Tim, you just did four, there’s no way you’re not doing less than two now” and I did it, I pulled myself up and not until my head cleared the bar did I realize I had just done a palms down pull up.

Ok so I probably just needed to push myself to do a palm down pull up as I was getting comfortable with pull ups in general by now.  But it’s weird as I could feel a difference when my mind was determined to do it, it’s like it found another gear to get the job done.

So now I’m wondering how I get that mind to take over at mile 20 of a marathon or even in the middle of a tempo run.  Maybe I’ll just run palms down?

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