Have these thoughts crossed your mind?
“Why am I doing this?”
“I have so far to go.”
“I want to stop running.”
Plus, your internal critic tells you you’re not a runner, you’re not fast enough, and that you’re not ready.
There’s no doubt you’re physically fit. You’ve used expert running advice, followed your training plan, and logged mileage.
But have you trained your mind as much as you’ve trained to run?
If you want to tap into your full physical potential and become a successful runner, you must train your mind as you would your body.
Becoming mentally tough boosts your confidence, ensures your progress, keeps you motivated, and drives you through discomfort.
Here you’ll find out how to build mental toughness for running to help you become a more determined and focused runner.
TIPS ON HOW TO BUILD MENTAL TOUGHNESS FOR RUNNING
To be a strong runner, you need to strengthen your confidence.
Runners with wavering confidence struggle with silencing their negative inner voice and focus obsessively on results.
But confidence requires you to loosen up and let go to run your best.
Set your end goal aside and focus on running in the moment.
Push your goal, worries, and judgements out of the way and focus on one thing as you’re running. For example, you could concentrate on your breathing, your stride, or your arm swing.
If you’re anxious about an upcoming race, learn how mental imagery exercises will help calm your race nerves.
Why do you run?
Mental toughness requires a deep, personal desire to fuel your motivation.
Your reason for running must resonate intensely with you because running is hard work, with good days, and days where motivation runs low.
But when you find why you run, you’ll do almost anything to succeed. Your deep desire pulls you off the couch and out the door.
So, why do you run? Why’s it so important to you?
Do you run to feel strong?
For your sanity?
Need more information on motivation? Read: How to stay focused on long-term goals.
How to build mental toughness for running: How to handle setbacks
Things happen-life demands time away from running, you get injured, or your nerves derail your time goal.
Mental toughness requires that you tell yourself that “no matter what happens, you’ll take everything as a challenge not a curse.” 1
If you’re returning to a running routine and feel unfit and ready to give up, it’s crucial you dig deep, remind yourself of why you’re doing this, and hang in there.
When you refuse to throw in the towel, you’ll continue to improve and you’ll find that your setback is temporary.
You’ll find specific strategies to returning strong post-injury here.
How to build mental toughness for running: How to deal with discomfort
This will be the hardest race of my life.” – Mo Farah, before his first marathon
Farah’s comments before his debut marathon is at odds with positive self-talk.
But research shows that a small dose of negativity, applied at the right time, can reduce the amount of pain you feel.
If you tell yourself that running is will be easy and it’s not, what happens? You stop running because it’s difficult and grueling.
But when you tell yourself that this will be painful-you’re bracing yourself to handle the agony.
When you expect it to hurt, you can endure the suck and use even more of your physical potential.
Mental toughness builds with practice and turns you into a confident runner.
Train your mind and you’ll be unstoppable.
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How Bad Do You Want It?, Matt Fitzgerald
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
The Mindful Athlete, George Mumford