Use Your Mind To Reach Your Running Goals | Runner's WorldAthletes are said to have two types of mental strategies: association (tuning in) and dissociation (tuning out). Those mind-sets are further defined as internal (focusing inward) or external (focusing outward). Runners who internally associate pay attention to how their body feels while running by monitoring fatigue, muscle soreness, and breathing. Those who externally associate also home in, but on things that are important to the race going on around them, like checking a pace band or watch and looking for mile markers. Internal dissociation is a form of self-distraction, using song lyrics, mantras, and mind games. And people who externally dissociate use their surroundings--scenery, spectators, chatty running partners--as diversion. Competitive runners tend to associate more than dissociate; runners who are less concerned with time often rely more on dissociative techniques.