In my daily working life i see thousands of people going about their daily business. I read magazines, books and websites and i wonder..”what is it that makes those people so different from me?” if it be educationally, employment or in this context their physical fitness. We see and hear all the time about the role of genetics and natural ability. While this may be true to an extent (after all someone who is 15 stone is going to be stronger than someone who is 10 stone) the divide between people of a similar stature, who eat healthily and live a healthy lifestyle is going to be minimal.
After spending some time reading and thinking i have drawn a personnel conclusion that it is their mental approach to their training and eating habits that helps them to excel. What are these attributes? How and why are theirs better than mine? Physically we know that if we live a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly we will make gains in our physical health. The mental qualities needed to set out on the path to physical improvement and to stay on this path long term i think are as follows.
Each of these mental attributes are key to getting out the door, undergoing strenuous physical activity and continuing to do this week in week out. There are many different reasons and catalysts that put us on the running path but these mental qualities are what helps to keep us there when we are in the thick of it. Just as we need to physically exercise our bodies to improve we also need to mentally exercise so we can be mentally fitter and stronger, which will in turn improve our physical progression.
We need regular positive mental reinforcement to strengthen our mental resolve. This can be by gaining motivation and inspiration from the writing of others or their own physical endeavors. Simply collecting quotes can be a great way of mentally inspiring and strengthening ones own self belief. When in the middle of a run, tell yourself, “don’t stop!” , “keep going”, “i still feel fresh”, “i have energy”, “i can do this!”.
When things are really tough going slow down but DO NOT STOP! Use mental tricks such as telling yourself the quicker you move the sooner it will be over. Affirm to yourself the majority of the run is done, you’re on the home stretch. If you stop now you’ve still got x miles to get home, so keep moving!
It’s about personnel endeavor. Don’t think about others ability during a run. Don’t try and keep up or run as fast as others. Run your run, run your race. In training choose to improve time or distance, not both in the same training session. Always push the boundaries, you’ll surprise yourself! Don’t fear the discomfort, accept it! It will be uncomfortable but should never be painful, if it is, stop!
Do these mental processes often and your mental resolve will strengthen. You will go further and faster sooner than you think. When under physical stress and tension, you ache, your muscles are tired, mentally argue with yourself and beat your subconscious voice down. Lock the negative subconscious voice in a box, you can guarantee it’s the best escape artist that ever existed! but learn to beat it down and put it back in the box. In time and with some determination and persistence improvement will follow. When improvement doesn’t seem to be forthcoming , exercise your determination and persistance to keep you on the path towards your goal.
Run far, run fast but above all run fearless!