I found this on a forum I frequent and thought I’d post it here as it’s really good info. My sessions are getting harder and it’s going to get worse before it gets better so thisis good info. 🙂
Mental Toughness is…
Training when you don’t want to…Talking yourself out of quitting a long run when your not feeling it…getting up early when you want to sleep…having a miserable workout that you just suck at but survive. This is your mental training! These are the successes you think about in the middle of a race when the wheels are coming off. You might walk for a minute or 20 and every step is agony and then you take a deep breath and try and pull it back together again and go again even it you have to do it 10 times during a race that is mental toughness.
It’s an attitude…failure is not an option. I didn’t get up at 5am for the last 6 months to quit. You didn’t sacrifice all your social time to workout just to quit. You haven’t put up with all your spouses “moods” about your workouts to quit. It’s believing in yourself. It’s getting mad at yourself. It’s pushing yourself. It’s holding yourself accountable.
My IM swim sucked. The water was 57 degrees and after 20 min the cold had jacked with my HR and I was getting testy with everyone around me and panicky and started having doubts 3/4 of the way through my first loop. I started thinking that if I couldn’t pull myself together I wasn’t going to be able to finish. You have to be able to shut your mind down when it starts talking crap and say “NO”, I’m better than that. Or my actual conversation with myself was “bull___!, I’m not going back to work to tell everyone I quit”. Then I had to evaluate what was wrong and make a plan and adjust.
- Stick to your workouts and finish them. If you give yourself excuses in your workouts you will give yourself excuses while your racing. My personal favorite when I’m having a bad swim or run is to promise myself I’ll stop after 200 then just to be evil it’s another 500 or whatever. My brain hates my ego we talk to each other all through the workout.
- Find your happy and you motivated place. Know what will calm you down. Is it a memory of a vacation, a song, your kids, spouse, Happy and calm is different than Motivated and Fired up…a visual of the way you are or use to be or who you want to be?
- Tell EVERYBODY you know what you are doing and post it on your office door. I am not kidding here. I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to change my goal and forget the IM but didn’t because it was on my door and the GM would come by periodically and ask me about how things were going. Pride is a great motivator.
- Have a motto or two…pick a motto and know it by heart. Use it in training and it will come to you in racing. Tape it to your bike if you have to. ie…Suck it up buttercup or HTFU. Nothing to it but to do it! Good, Better, Best, never rest until your good is better than the rest. Not sure where I got this one from but it works when your running on each foot strike.
- Evaluate and change plans on the fly. (SOOOOO, important) You should always have a race plan A, B and C and even then you might have to be creative. Very rarely will you ever have a race that goes exactly as planned.
- Learn the difference between workout pain and injury pain. There is no shame in pulling out of a race because you feel something that is just wrong. I’ve been out for two years because of working through pain. I am in the process of discovering how I need to prepare my body to race and what I need to do when things feel off but I won’t ever hesitate to stop if I can’t get things under control because one race isn’t worth two years. We aren’t talking blisters here.
- Know why you are doing this. This isn’t the simple answer, “because somebody asked me to do it.” There’s a reason you decided to torture yourself. You may not even know why right now but you will discover it in your training. Race day is a catered training day. It’s just another day in the end. Triathlon is a journey of self discovery. The work, blood, sweat, tears and money come from a place within. Know what your motivation is and use it when the going gets tough.
- Last but not least…be realistic with your goals and be prepared.