Eliminate the mindset of CAN'T? Because you can do anything! - Tony Horton
The mindset is an essential part in running - especially in endurance running. You can be in the best shape of your life but without mental toughness and grit, you will not be able to perform. This season has been one of those seasons that has had much more lows than highs. I have used the word, "CAN"T" a lot more during my training. I have been stopping a lot more in my training which has led me to cry. Running can be heartbreaking and I am always asking myself; “Why is this happening to me?” I want to be fast, unstoppable, fearless and like my boyfriend loves to state, "Have the eye of the tiger when you run/race”. The training has not been the problem, but rather my mindset that has me feeling defeated. I am learning to break through my own negative self-talk, especially during my tempos and training segments which has been occurring for the past three months. I won't be rambling about what has caused my negative self-talk since I don't want to bore you with my personal life. But a lot has changed this season in my personal life and I have been struggling with the change emotionally which has caused a lot more doubts in myself.
After my race this past weekend in Pittsburgh (half marathon). I cried like a baby and I felt defeated once again. Speaking to my boyfriend who is also my coach, he told me that Monday will start the new me and the new mental positive self-talk. I started to laugh because Monday I had a day off. His response, EXACTLY, a day of rest to recover and to tackle workouts in the next 6 weeks to prepare for the Grandmas Half Marathon. We spoke about using more positive self-talk and reading more books on overcoming negative self-talk. Also, he recommended that we fly out of state in July to the NSCA National Sports Conference in Indianapolis, where different professionals will talk about the sport of running and strength and conditioning. He pointed out in the flyer that one of the talks will be about building mental toughness, so I am excited to overcome the mental barrier of my own negative self-talk.
Sometimes you need to experience heart break to find the love of ruining again. While it is so easy to compare myself to last season, which was a breakthrough season with so many PR’s and where I felt strong, physically and mentally. My goal is to become the Sabrina I was last season but BETTER. So, since I have been reading a lot more about mental toughness. I thought I would share some tactics that I read and what I have started this past week. Oh yeah, I killed my workout today while repeating, "DIG DEEP". I will be updating my daily running progress on strava running app. You are welcome to follow. =) While I am currently focusing on this, I thought you can try these steps if you are also struggling with your mental toughness.
To perform your best, an athlete must have motivation when training during a season. To develop motivation, an athlete must set long term goals, short term goals, train smart, and commit to the moment. After defeating races, I had some quiet time on Monday where I wrote down my goals and spoke to my coach about my long-term goals and how I can reach those goals. This allowed me to improve myself as an athlete because when I run, I am aiming for my goals; which are to hit the A-standard for the Olympic Trials and running a really fast half marathon.
2) Positive self-talk
If you have negative thoughts in your mind during a workout or even before, the chances are you, will be defeated. When I had successful workouts, I usually set out a special outfit which are the she roes sports bra and wear a bracelet that has a meaning around it. I then tell myself a mantra or repeat phrases nonstop during a run. For me, the phrases that I repeat are, “I am STRONG”, “I am FIT”, “I am POWERFUL”, and “DIG DEEP!”.
3) Breaking the workout/race into small segments.
When doing longer reps, it is always best to get through each lap on a track or one mile at a time on the roads instead of thinking of the workout as a whole. Running long can leave me frightened, but when I focused on each mile for a 20-mile-long run, my mind is put in another state and I had a sense of effortlessness. I had my best races when I am focused on one mile at a time and when I focus on a particular land mark or a person in front of me.
4) Running hurts like hell
Not everyone is a runner, but if you are, you must know that in order to run fast, it better hurt! 80% of running and racing fast is mental and 20% is fitness. You must remind yourself that it’s supposed to hurt and that you are strong enough to get through it. Keep a positive mindset throughout the workout and know that it will all be worth it in the end.
5. Learn to deal with bad days
Everyone has bad days. Some bad days are waking up on the wrong side of the bed (waking up unmotivated), got in an argument with someone, working has become a lot of work or failed a test. Learn to put those thoughts aside and not allow it to drain your run. That negative energy that is draining you is probably causing a lot more stress than it needs to be. Running should not be a burden instead a time to focus on you, your health, and your running goals. Learning to separate your personal life and running life can help you become successful in both. Clear your mind and meditate on the good things.
I hope you enjoyed this blog on how to work on mental toughness. I hope this helps you!
Next blog post will be on how to deal with amenorrhea.