BLOGTIME: Mental Toughness

As the winter months approach, many runners set their goals and targets for the upcoming season of fun runs. A target race or event can provide a fantastic end point for a training process and can fill the runner with initial motivation. Where many runners (from beginners building up to their first fun run, right through to elite runners looking to run their best time) will often come undone, is the patch of training that occurs after this initial motivation. The buzz and excitement of entering the event has passed and the event itself is too far away to get excited about. So how can you encourage consistency in your training to ensure you give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal on race day?

IMG_1866

One term that is commonly associated with successful people, whether in running or otherwise, is mental toughness. What is mental toughness and how can you apply this to your own training to maximize your own success in running?

A common definition of mental toughness reads “A personal capacity to deliver high performance on a regular basis, despite varying degrees of situational demands”. Now I’m sure everyone can relate to this, where they have had the initial motivation to perform a task when the thought arises in their head, before certain circumstances (weather, work, traffic, sickness etc.) limit their capacity to perform the task as they want to and therefore don’t attempt the task at all. Now obviously some circumstances are beyond our control and part of being mentally tough is accepting that. However, what we must learn from this definition is that if we want to be mentally tough, we must focus on our behavior and not our thoughts.

IMG_0928

I recently attended a talk from a well renowned sports psychologist from UWA who discussed this very idea of focusing on mentally tough behaviors. His summary was that if an athlete is frequently delivering high personal performance, then it is as much a reflection on their behavior as it is on their skills. Therefore, his advice to athletes who are seeking their own levels of high performance was to make sure you behave in a mentally tough way and to not just think in that way. Backing up day to day and week to week, regardless of the circumstances is the key to demonstrating mentally tough behaviors and will be the cornerstone to your success in your own goals for your running.

On a closing note, how do you know if you’re being mentally tough… quite simply someone will tell you! To quote to famous AFL Coach John Kennedy… don’t think, DO!

 

IMG_2240

 

Happy running,

 

 

Ben Green

B.Sc (Hons)

Level 3 Coach IAAF

Coaching Manager

Front Runner Sports

 

Leave a Comment

*