The Mental Game

As important as mental toughness or mental fitness is to success in running, the vast majority of the information out there is focused on the physiological aspects of training. Training schedules, tips on the long run, and strength routines to help you improve running economy and minimize injuries. There’re seems to be very little about what you need to do in order to be mentally sharp and focused come race day. So I decided to do some research and create a resource that I would love to have on mental training for runners. It has blossomed into a series of posts as this topic is extremely huge and I wanted to give myself (and you) some concrete tools to use in training and racing. I will talk about the theory behind the practices and give you step by step guidance as to how to do the practices and incorporate them into your training. Let me also say that I am not a sports psychologist by any means. I’m just a coach doing a bit of research and some critical thinking. Here’s what I intend to cover:
  1. Visualization. What it is, why you should do it. How/why does it work. How to get started.
  2. Process versus outcomes. I did  a short piece on process goals not too long ago. This one will be more in depth and provide some real examples to use on a daily basis.
  3. Mantras. What are they, why do they work, and how to implement them.
  4. Self belief – Believing that you can do something is vital to your success as an athlete.
  5. Trusting your training – Trust is the foundation of any coaching relationship. I will also explain why trusting your training (whatever the source) is a key to unleashing greater performance.
  6. Team mates –  Community is a big part of running and getting some people to challenge and challenge you is a great way to build mental toughness.
  7. Running by feel – I have talked about this before and this is something that I continue to work on myself. The more research I do the more I realize that this practice, seemingly physical, actually helps to improve your mental abilities as well.

Enjoy the Run

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