The simple steps to a winning mindset

Whether you’re looking to serve up your fastest 10K or smash a faster sprint time, there’s one element of your training that could use a booster: your mental strength.

“The truth is that all top athletes have the potential to win, but it’s mentality that determines who comes out on top on competition day,” says British tennis player and New Balance athlete Heather Watson (@HeatherWatson92).

“That’s why I dedicate as much time to mind training as my physical work.”

Here’s Heather’s top pointers to better your brain.

Be your own best friend

No matter how difficult things seem, look on the bright side and you can overcome any challenge.

“Recently I was playing the very first round of the Monterrey open and it seemed I had no hope of winning,” says Heather.

“I went from playing for the match to losing the set in a matter of minutes. Mentally I was all over the place – I was almost crying.”

“But then something changed. I knew that I could think myself forward. I told myself that I could do it. I didn’t beat myself up and I encouraged myself."

"And then I won it – not just that match, but eventually the entire tournament.” Keeping your head up and in the game is the first step to winning it.

Focus on yourself

From unexpected shin splints to the speed of your competitors, there are a lot of things in life you can’t control.

So focus on what you can. “Always think about your own performance – and just that,” advises Heather.

“I never focus on who I’m facing. Instead, I concentrate on what I’m in charge of: my training time.”

Remember, when it comes to your running prep, put yourself centre-court.

Hold no regrets

Heather’s nightmare training session? “One where I know I haven’t given 100%.” Yet how can you give your all every time you lace up?

“Just think about how great you’ll feel after you’re finished – after you’ve achieved your goal,” advises Heather.

“This visualisation technique is how I play at my best.”

Rest your mind as you would your body

We’ve all had that horrible collection of disheartening training sessions where beating your personal best seems painfully impossible.

But there is something that makes this motivational setback worse: refusing to rest your mind. “If you’ve suffered a blip then don’t feel guilty about putting more time into things you enjoy.

Going out with friends or talking to your family between runs are great ways to give your brain a breather,” says Heather. “Your mind deserves a rest as much as your body.”

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: www.newbalance.co.uk/ToughestOpponent