Mental toughness is becoming more commonly talked about in the running community than ever before. What is mental toughness? Mental toughness is a skill that allows runners to stay positive and run at a peak performance level without succumbing to fear, discomfort, humiliation, or failure.
Mental toughness is a skill you can practice on every run - hooray! It's part of the 1% of things that you can do outside of just training to move the needle in your fitness and race times. If you find yourself stopping on a run, skipping workouts, having a negative mindset while running, and more, this article is for you!
First, ask yourself, what limits have you set for yourself? Training has highs and lows, peaks, and valleys. Mental Strength does too! The first step is to set realistic goals. If you're a beginner runner and running 6 days a week / 70-mile training weeks - this isn't realistic. You can get there someday, for sure, but not this season. Focus on what will set you up for success - an example is 3 days a week, 30 minutes a day until you feel good enough to increase the mileage.
Here is a 4 step process to elevate your mindset! You can use these tips 1 mile at a time during a 4-mile run.
1. While running, focus on the broad external world. This can be the birds, wind, trees, or children biking to school. Does it feel safe and happy? Does it feel gloomy? Is it about to rain? (we've allll been there!). The wind feels nice on my face today.
2. Focus on yourself, the broad internal world. How am I feeling today? What feels good? What feels heavy? Do I feel any running niggles today? How is my breath? How is my running form?
3. Focus on something up ahead - focus on the tree ahead and move through the "checkpoint". Next up, the light pole, the mailbox ... and so on and so forth.
4. Positive Self Talk - a lot of times this will come in the form of mantras!
Five quick tips to keep you on track!
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