Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mental Toughness Through a Hard Workout

Today's workout:
8 mile run 

Howdy y'all! Happy hump day. Do you guys recall my difficult workout on Sunday? (Click here to read it). I did a progression run which called for 6 easy miles followed by 4 miles that were quite intense for me. I thought I was going to collapse on the ground after the 8th mile. Lucky for me, my coach was running ahead of me so I was following his lead. Besides having him as a pacer, I utilized certain mind strategies to get me through the workout. 

For example, I continuously told myself that "I could do it!" As I repeated that phrase in my mind I imagined how satisfied I would feel at the end of the workout. The anticipated taste of victory allowed me to push forward. I also thought about the fun day that lay ahead of me. I told myself, "after this, it's playtime with the family." I imagined my fun day as being a reward after my long and painful run. I also set mini goals while I ran. I focused on only one mile at a time and I disregarded the miles that lay ahead of me. My focus was set on the specific mile that I was on and after I was done with it, I congratulated myself for accomplishing that mini goal. 

These mind games aren't uncommon in sports. Many athletes play these games in order to forget about the pain they are feeling during a workout or a race. Remember, mind and body influence each other, so if you are gasping for air after a workout or if you feel like you're about to die, chances are you are probably mentally flabby. Don't fret though, these strategies can be learned. 

Other strategies to practice during a tough workout:

1. Create a short term goal. For example, sign up for a race and stick to it. This gives you the motivation to workout and train for that race. 

2. Come up with a mantra. For instance, my mantra on Sunday was "you can do it." Come up with a positive phrase that you can repeat to yourself when you're feeling like you're going to give up. 

3. Make uncomfortable comfortable. When you're feeling the burning sensation in your legs, just remember that the pain is a necessary evil to get stronger. 

4. Be positive. Be positive about the progress you are making in a workout. Don't drag yourself down by having negative thoughts. 

How do you stay mentally strong during a workout?

I am grateful for the lessons I learn everyday.

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