Developing Mental Toughness

Mental skill development sits alongside Biomechanical and Physiological development as one of the 3 Pillars of our Front Runner coaching system.

Let’s look at some of the key mental skills that can boost performance in runners of all ages and abilities:

  1. Faith: The majority of the world’s top athletes come from poorer environments and almost all of these athletes have faith and belief in someone or something greater than themselves. Broadening of your view beyond your own running experience is a great way to start developing greater clarity and perspective.
  2. Goal setting: Establishing a clear target and goal acts as a catalyst for developing a plan and persevering through the training process towards a clear and measurable outcome
  3. Will: An unwavering commitment by an athlete or group to finish what they start to the best of their ability.
  4. Teamwork: No great success occurs in isolation. Through history of long distance running, success is built in a group culture where the combined motivation, systems and beliefs of the “pack” draws everyone in it further and faster than they could go alone.
  5. Excellence not Perfection: Perfection is an impossible target that leads many athletes to get lost in micro detail. Great athletes adopt the perspective that excellence is attainable while the search for perfection invariably reduces the likelihood of high performance.
  6. Balance: Athlete performance requires the balance of training stress and sufficient recovery to allow fitness development. Therefore, just as important as doing the “necessary work” is having the “necessary rest”.
  7. Grit: Like any skill, resilience can be built over time to make an athlete more able to produce peak performance. Grit is developing strength of character, depicted through perseverance and adaptability.
  8. Flow: The mind of a great runner is often found in a state of mindfulness known as flow. When in a rhythm, great runners learn the skill of being present, eliminating excessive thought or analysis.
  9. Responsibility: Being able to taking responsibility when things do not go well and look honestly in the mirror is a trait of all great runners. Passing responsibility or blame to others invariably leads to diminished likelihood of high performance.
  10. Coachability: 99% of Olympic athletes have a personal coach. Successful runners show an ability to listen and learn. Great runners are able to choose appropriate coaches and support service providers to assist them with their goals and seek to gain further self knowledge through available resources.