Mental toughness

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?

 

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Comments

  • 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...

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Music won't really help in many races though.

    I've played sport from a very young age so have always been very competitive.
  • 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 image Good luck !

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    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. 

  • 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 image

  • 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. 

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

    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! ) image

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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)

     

  • good job you added that disclaimer Mr I 

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 image 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Try a different tactic. Run at even splits and save a bit in the tank for the last 5k.
  • 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?

     

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

     

  • When you say you were inside the splits up to 9k then you just gave up do you mean just stopped or slowed down and came in at 38:30 and just missed your PB.

    After all we are talking about counting to 220 then you would be finished and have your PB?

    But we don't know anything about your training or your capabilities - perhaps it is your lactic acid build up that stops you and not your mind - otherwise noone would ever run a slow end to a race if it was as simple as 'toughing it out' and we would all get shiny new PBs every race we ran.

  • I slowed down finished in 38.28.it's definitely mental always struggle in the last mile whether its 10k  or half marathon.I'm definitely uncomfortable but not in pain.I hear people puffing and panting around me and carry on i never get like that but still just give up.

  • you do seem beat before you start...

    with 1 mile/k to go are you not thinking 1k to go and that's it?

    "compartmentalise" the race too. At 6k for example don't think 4k to go- think get to 7 etc.

    people die in different ways too. My breathing is last to go so people could push me when breathing really bad but i'd be hurting more. Not always reflective.

    as an old guy in our club said - no matter how much you're hurting the boy beside you will probably be hurting as much.

    have you went out too hard would be another question.

  • 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.

    There's something about the human nature which sometimes makes us frightened of succeeding.  I don't know if that's the case here, but if you're physically capable of hitting your PB and just keep on giving up in the last minutes of a race, that could be the case here.

    If the roles were reversed, what advice would you give?

  • 38.20, I wish. All I can really say is that if I was ahead of goal time on splits at 1k to go I would run til I puked. Don't really know what advice to give but I don't think mental trickery will help, maybe you do just need to run til you're sick or in complete lactic overload in training just to see what its like then you'll know just how far you can push.

  • This comes with a health warning, but it is what I go by and found that it works, not that I've ever got to the limit of fainting, but it pushes me a little further than what I felt I could do.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger says: 'I have no fear of fainting. I do squats until I fall over and pass out. So what? It’s not going to kill me. I wake up five minutes later and I’m OK. A lot of other athletes are afraid of this. So they don’t pass out. They don’t go on.'

  • Arnold was a beast though.

     

  • Thanks! some good advice here  Found some techniques just keep trying them until I find the right one for me.

  • +1 for run till you puke! Makes feeling a bit tired seem not so bad.

    image

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    david rawson wrote (see)

    I slowed down finished in 38.28.it's definitely mental always struggle in the last mile whether its 10k  or half marathon.I'm definitely uncomfortable but not in pain.I hear people puffing and panting around me and carry on i never get like that but still just give up.

    One way would to imagine you're not in the last mile of the race but only half way. The last marathon I ran was like that. Instead of thinking I was at 21 miles with 5 miles to go, I pretended I had 10 miles to go. The 400 yards to go sign was a surprise when I passed it.

  • Other techniques - although you had 1k to go you know that with about 400m to go you will get to the finish and be okay so that means you only need to get a further 600m and you will be okay. So with a bit of kidology you can shorten the distance you need to go before you will be effectively finished.

    Put your head down, keep swinging your arms and count to a 100 - your style will probably go a bit but a couple of them and you'll be home.

    Come up with a phrase that makes you laugh that fits in with your running style - I use 'f* - king - hell' rhythmically over and over again - another few hundred yards conquered.

    Force yourself to relax your shoulders and smile/say hello to someone as you run past - probably worth another 200 yards - you could do it if it was your best friend making fun of you so just pretend that it's them.

    Check out the route beforehand - for example if the last 0.3 miles is down hill and you have a mile to go then you can tell yourself the finish line is effectively only 0.7 miles away - then use one of kidology/distraction schemes above and before you know it you'll be finished.

    I've done all these in races. Never run till I've puked though so perhaps I'm not trying hard enough either!

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