Do you want to play a game? Well, it doesn’t really matter if you want to or not. Whether it is getting out of bed for a midweek run or talking yourself through a race or competition – there is always one thing you can control, your mind. It takes time to build mental toughness but with each hard workout you power through and each choice to be better, you can fight the mental game and defeat those little voices in your head that says give up. While playing the brain game, it is important to keep up the positive self talk and knowing the difference between your mind and your body.
First, knowing your body and your mind. For me, I know that my body is tried when I still am stiff after a rest day or I am a little sore. I know it is my mind when I am looking for excuses not to go to the gym or for a run. Some days you need a mind break and a body break but it is important to know the balance. Over time, you will come to know yourself and know just what your limits are. I like to train around 75-80% of my max but that is not for everyone. If you are just starting out, give it 60% of your full effort and work from there. As you increase and change workouts you will know what you can and can not push.
For the mind, it is hard to stick to a routine. It takes time to build a habit and even then it might not be easy. But it is all about keeping your head in the game and remembering your goals. Recently, I found myself giving up on a very long and hot run. I remembered that I had not been working on mental toughness during my shorter runs and workouts. At that moment, I had to remember times that were more difficult and my end goals. I didn’t want to have to take an Uber home on a long run and I needed to train for the tough parts of a marathon. After deciding to not take the Uber home, I texted one of my training partners. Not only did she encourage me to finish strong but sent me a video to encouragement. Just the inspiration an positive energy to get my self talk under control. I could have quit in the middle of my long run but I was able to shift my self talk and beat the brain game.