MENTAL TOUGHNESS WHILE TRAINING
Training early in the morning or every day while you have a full time job or family commitments is mentally and physically straining. Maintaining a consistent training schedule is difficult and requires strong mental will power. This article will give you some great tips to help you become mentally strong to handle the challenge of training, family and demanding work.
“Endurance performance is mentally tough; the best triathletes can push themselves to sustain physical fatigue and remain psychologically positive over long distances and durations. This doesn’t happen by chance; endurance athletes can train the mind to develop emotional control” Andy Lane
Having the right mindset makes a huge difference in both racing and training. I personally believe this is where women have great strength and can achieve great results through mental toughness.
According to a great deal of research, Andy Lane (2007) recognized several mental trends female athletes go through while racing and training.
1. Pre race anxiety (CLICK HERE for further information)
2. During long bouts of long, intense exercise
3. Repeated bouts of intense exercise – often experienced during training
Knowing and preparing in training for these emotional times is a great way to overcome any potential poor performance.
Steps you need to improve your emotional attitude to training and racing;
1. Understand how you react to the three areas above. Do you get angry, depressed or feel energized?
2. How you have/haven’t coped with this emotion in the past
3. Visualize Success in these situations (CLICK HERE for further information)
4. Self Talk – Control your inner voice
1. Understand how you emotionally react
Keep a log of times during racing and training where you doubted yourself, lacked mental strength or become abnormally emotional. What triggered these events? While training, I find my self talk can convince me that I really don’t need to complete the full workout and I could go home and clean up the house instead. I’m busy and have so many things to do. My inner voice is thing about my workload and I’m not completing the workout as planned. What does you’re inner voice say to sabotage your training plan?
2. How you have/haven’t coped with this emotion in the past?
Have you been able to overcome these negative emotions in the past and how did you do this, what did you tell yourself? I stopped and sat on the side of the road at the 6km run mark of an IM and cried. Mentally I told myself that my body couldn’t cope anymore. The following year, I realized this 6km mark was a time of emotional haywire so all my runs off the bike-exceeded 6km. I knew once I got to 6km I could run further and I had the confidence that this wasn’t an issue any longer. I still celebrate once I get past the 6km mark
3. Visualize Success in these situations (go to link of visualization)
4. Self Talk
An average person has up to sixty thousand thoughts per day; the unfortunate thing is that the majority tends to embody self-doubt or negativity (Selk 2009). We all know those thoughts early in the morning that tell us to turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. You find reasons to stay in bed and not get up and train. Choose and train your self-talk.
Practice your self-talk daily through training so it becomes easy during training.
Eliminate and replace your mental clutter
Often athletes don’t know what to think and therefore their mind is not focusing on the task. Mental clutter occurs, as you haven’t identified what to think and replace this mental clutter. Determine what statements drive you while you’re racing eg. Go through your run or swim technique checklist.
Identify your personal drivers
What is your personal mantra that gets you through the tough workouts? Design one which will remind you on what you want to achieve or improve.
Replace negative thoughts with positive
Replace all thoughts of self-doubt or negativity with thoughts of what it is that you want, and you will be much more likely to have those things occur. Do this as often as possible and you will improve your odds of reaching or exceeding your potential
“The essence to mental toughness is the ability to replace negative thinking with thoughts that are centered on performance cures or that contribute to self confidence” Selk 2009
“Letting your mind have its way often cripple you with self doubt or negativity. Your body listens to what your mind tells it” Steltz