This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance.
Whether you’re working up to a big race or just preparing to face a heavy bar in the gym, all the training runs or practise lifts in the world won’t cut it if you are your own worst enemy. You’ve heard “it’s all in the mind” before, but how do you conquer yourself? We’ve drafted in PT and New Balance ambassador Ben Camara (@bencamara) to reveal his tried-and-tested mental defences.
Break it down
“First and foremost, you’ve got to have achievable goals during training,” says Ben. When you’re struggling through a long run and your mind is begging you to call it quits, the knowledge you’ve hit these barriers and overcome them in the past will shut up the voices in your head. Set yourself runs in gradually increasing distances to make sure you’re progressing without risking throwing in the towel, says Ben.
“When your mind is wavering, get yourself a training partner,” says Ben. The theory holds weight: the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy has found increased fat loss in individuals working out with a training partner as opposed to solo. Although you’re looking for performance not pound-shedding, you can use this by picking up a running buddy at a similar skill level – you are your own competition, but there’s benefits to be gleaned from keeping pace with a partner.
Don’t stop the music
“Music in your ear keeps your mind in check,” Ben tells us. “Get yourself a good playlist.” If you’re going to follow someone’s example, you could do much worse than Hugh Jackman, whose stress-busting heavy metal playlist of Metallica and Godsmack is scientifically approved by the University of Queensland to beat stress while in the gym. But if wailing guitars aren’t your bag, the Men's Health Ultimate Workout Album should get you battle-ready.
Run your own race
To ensure you’re in the right mental headspace on race day, you need to know how fast you’re running now. Ben recommends you get to grips with an activity tracker. “You need to know where you are with regard to your own pace,” he says. “If you can control your pace during training, you can control the race on the day.” Know your stats and you’ll ensure you can stay on track once the big day comes.
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/TougestOpponent.
You are your toughest opponent.