This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance.
You don’t have to be a marathon regular to be on nodding terms with every runner’s worst nightmare – the wall. You know, when leaden legs send screaming signals to your brain, sapping your stamina and your will.
It’s the reason a strong mind is critical to enhancing your endurance levels. Whether that’s dealing with the frustration of having to rebuild your stamina from scratch after an injury, or summoning the strength to kick for the finish line – mental fortitude drags you through.
One way footballing star and New Balance athlete Aaron Ramsey achieves this is by understanding that practice really does make perfect. ‘No matter how hard you work in training or in the gym, it never prepares you fully for the real thing,’ he says.
From the football pitch to the start line, familiarity with your event is key to overcoming self-imposed fear. Take on your toughest opponent – that’s you, remember – by testing your mettle and taking part in more races. This will unshackle stamina levels from mentally imposed brake pads.
However, boosting your mental strength doesn’t mean you can then avoid putting in the miles. ‘I was a good long-distance runner as a kid and today endurance is something I excel at,’ says Ramsey. ‘But it’s an important mindset to know that you are never the finished article, and instead you can only strive to get as close to it as possible.’
Have you hit a plateau while pounding the pavements? Try tweaking your training regime. What many runners don’t realise is that every sprint or jog is a single leg exercise, and building physical strength in your pistons can supercharge stamina. Simple body weight exercises like single-leg glute bridges, step-ups and lateral bounds are ideal for building muscular endurance.
New Balance Toughest Opponent is a story about the battles we have within ourselves. The niggling mind games that play out between our ears that make us question whether to run that extra mile, to lift that heavier weight, or to go forward and push harder, faster and stronger than we did the day before. Find out more at: http://www.newbalance.co.uk/ToughestOpponent.
You are your toughest opponent.