Mental toughness

mental strategies

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17/11/2013 at 21:32

Hi' is there a way of developing mental toughness? or is it just a case of youv'e either got it or you haven't because i definitely haven't i just seem to give up soon as i feel myself struggling.I would like to know if there are any techniques to help me?


17/11/2013 at 22:08

do you listen to music at all? I've found that certain songs/playlists help me 'zone out' and i feel like i can go on forever! I tend to listen to music that reminds me of certain people/places/experiences or i create ones while im running...

17/11/2013 at 22:20
Music won't really help in many races though.
I've played sport from a very young age so have always been very competitive.
17/11/2013 at 23:38

Agree with Millsy music good short term but I find into long runs it drives me mad and most races don't allow it .

someone suggested on here a long while back to push your mileage past your car/ house , I've used it and it works but you have to be brave enough to push on ,but once you do there's no going back !

I don't know what your distance is but no matter what my distance is I try to go out atleast once a week with my teenage son (for you someone very keen), if I give a choice  of 4 miles or 6 miles he will always push on to 6 which is great, unfortunately when I get to the 20 milers I'm back on my own  Good luck !

17/11/2013 at 23:55

Do you have a goal you are working to? When I am building up to a big half or ten k and struggling in a session I visualise myself crossing the line and the clock showing the time I want. That gets my adrenaline up.

Also, I view every run I do as  a weekly jigsaw with each run serving a particular physiological purpose all of which come together to create adoptions and persuade myself its all part of the big picture.

That aside, run with someone else thats perhaps got a stronger will. 

Edited: 17/11/2013 at 23:56
18/11/2013 at 03:44

Honesty.. How do you toughen up, by getting out there and running, and learning? 

Or even working in a gym and when your body says I'm pooped, that's when you say oh no you aren 't, and keep going.

i do little things that help teach my body like I say I'm running x distance then just as I finish say to myself, nope let's add another half a km... 

Seriously i think it's down to practise, and just going out and running in all conditions and not making excuses, it just happens. If you have to walk a bit so be it, but make sure you finish running. No matter how crap you feel if your doing 10k run what you can, walk some and make sure you run the last 500m, you soon learn to toughen up as it means you get finished and indoors quicker.

as you increase your distances and stamina the toughness as you call it just develops.  

18 months ago I started here and someone in a thread said stop being a bleeping wimp and just do it... That still holds true. Just tell your body you are not going to quit and eventually it gives up a bit and slowly lets you do what you want. 

My one and only gimmick, was seeing myself at the end of my first marathon trying to envisage myself crossing the line (if only I looked that good in reality). Sometimes thinking that helped me get over a hump. 

Also... Don't give your body excuses, make sure you have enough water and if you need to eat, Have gels or jelly babies, or flapjacks etc... they are usually OTT unless on long training runs, but, it stops them becoming another excuse I had to give up because of x... Eliminate all of those excuses.

if all else fails, shout at yourself out loud. yes, I mean it. The odd " I am not going to bloody give up" sometimes makes a difference

Edited: 18/11/2013 at 04:00
18/11/2013 at 04:03

Sorry one last thing! Bribe yourself!!

promise yourself if I do X in training this month then I can buy blah, but only if I do the training, and stick to the promise. 

18/11/2013 at 04:09

+1 on what Booktrunk says, especially the telling yourself not to be a wimp and Man up part.

For you, perhaps, when you're giving up is way past (physically/mentally) where most others give up. Or it could be the other end of the scale. 

For most people what their body is capable of is what others are capable of. There are enough people around who run 100 miles plus in a day for it not to be unusual, therefore I am capable of doing that. 

I didn't like heights as a kid so I climbed trees, stood on the edges of cliffs etc to sort my head out. Heights don't cross my mind now. The same has applied at other times to other things that my head has told me are scary/can't be done when I know full well they aren't scary/can be done.

Who's in control? You or the voices? ( Please don't call the men in white coats after that statement! ) 

18/11/2013 at 07:10
For me the feeling of just getting out there and doing it, especially when I know I'm tired, keeps me wanting to do it. That, and I'd feel guilty if I told myself I was going to run, then put it off. Pushing through the pain in training is rewarding, and good practice for the real thing!

For me, something just clicked one day and I started wanting to take it more seriously. The motivation is all in challenging myself, getting fitter and leaner, beating PBs all the time, having races and other targets to aim at. For me it doesn't feel like mental toughness, pushing hard is just part of the package.
Edited: 18/11/2013 at 07:12
18/11/2013 at 09:36

put yourself in a situation where its not easy to give up.

say you want to break a particular mileage - get someone to drop you a mile further than that from home and then run home. If you have to push through it teaches you that you can without anything bad happening, even if you walk the last mile, you still havent given up. I always feel that running past your car/house gives you an excuse to give up?
I also find that stopping and having a kind of 're-set' helps. have a drink, have a jelly baby, stretch, walk for a short time, then start a slow jog again.

18/11/2013 at 10:47

When youre running and you feel like giving up, like you cant possibly run another 10 metres, do what I do ...... reach down between your legs. Can you feel two of the same thing down there? If you can ....... it means you keep going. If you can't then feel free to stop and walk so you can go home and play with your barbie dolls.

(this technique only works for 50% of the population)


18/11/2013 at 10:59

good job you added that disclaimer Mr I 


18/11/2013 at 13:10

I find myself agreeing with Mr Real I. There are lots of tricks but the only way is MTFU feel the pain and keep going.

18/11/2013 at 15:36

Short of groping yourself in public, you could just use the basic motivation of pride.

Think about pride in yourself and pride in your loved one's pride in you.  Are you a quitter?  Nobody is ever overall proud of someone who quit without at least a fight first.  If you are thinking of stopping but would not be able to face your loved ones or look yourself in the mirror and say "I gave that my absolute all" then never think about stopping or quitting.  Your body is capable of far more than you think so don't let yourself down and don't let your loved one's down be being a bit of a soft touch.

Or just touch yourself up.

18/11/2013 at 17:49

I agree with booktrunk, I some times promise myself a new pair of running trainers or something if I do a certain amount of miles or reach a certain goal. When I'm out running I listen to the nike+ app which talks to you at the end of each km (or mile, whichever you prefer) telling you your pace, distance, etc. You can also set a goal at the start of a run and it will tell when your halfway there, when your getting close and so on. I find this to be the best app going for motivation, for me it really helps  

18/11/2013 at 17:51

There's another way I play about with which is perfect for when everything is hurting.

There's nothing wrong with pain; pain is just a feeling; it's the thinking we attach to the pain that's the problem, not the pain itself.

So, when I remember (i.e. I'm not all wrapped up in my self centred discomfort), I'll try to stop thinking by being 'mindful' and just really feel what I'm feeling; I'll put my consciousness not on thinking but on feeling.

It's tough to do, it's a practise (the practise is called 'mindfulness') and I only seem to manage to do it for 20 seconds-or-so at a time.

Mindfulness is generally associated with Buddhism, but it's recognised by the psychiatric community as having value; and one of it's uses is dealing with physical pain.  You can get mindfulness courses through your GP (not for toughing out a hard run though); sometimes they're called 'Present Moment Awareness' courses.

18/11/2013 at 20:58

I'm talking specifically about racing.The reason i mention it is because on sunday  i was trying to get below 38 mins in a 10k. My pb is 38.20 i was ahead on all the splits up to 9k then just gave up if this was the only time i'd except it and move on but this is the third 10k in a row where i've been ahead on the splits then just gave up.I know it's a mental block but i can't overcome it.

18/11/2013 at 21:05
Try a different tactic. Run at even splits and save a bit in the tank for the last 5k.
18/11/2013 at 21:14
david rawson wrote (see)

I'm talking specifically about racing.The reason i mention it is because on sunday  i was trying to get below 38 mins in a 10k. My pb is 38.20 i was ahead on all the splits up to 9k then just gave up if this was the only time i'd except it and move on but this is the third 10k in a row where i've been ahead on the splits then just gave up.I know it's a mental block but i can't overcome it.

So thats it then ....... youre not even going to entertain my suggestion?


18/11/2013 at 21:17

I already have my friend and whats wrong with barbie dolls lmao. I wish it was that easy.


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