Build a strong mind for endurance sport!

2013October30_Endurance_AHell’s Kitchen’s Gordon Ramsay, actor Shia LeBoeuf and British Royal Princess Beatrice, are just some of the famous people who have passed the finish line after a gruelling run and completed marathons. And there’s a whole starstudded list of celebrities who have triathlete status too, such as Desperate Housewife Terri Hatcher and New Girl’s Max Greenfield. Triathlons and Iron Man challenges seem to be appealing to more people as an opportunity to push themselves to the limit. Endurance sport lovers everywhere know that part of the success is not just a strong body but a strong mind too.

Endurance sports are not just about perfectly trained physical bodies, finely tuned ability and powerful performance. The power of the mind is also a force to be reckoned with and mental strength is important when building your endurance levels. So is it time to limber up and work out your mental agility and fitness to face the challenge ahead?

Create positive triggers: How you react to certain situations shapes how your mind categorizes certain events and scenarios and how you view and feel about them. It doesn’t take long before a certain response will be automatically triggered. It may appear so immediate that you presume that your reaction is natural. However, you have a choice as to what this will be. For example, how do you react when faced with a frustrating traffic queue or when you don’t achieve your personal best in a sport? Create positive triggers so that when faced with difficulties during your endurance training and sports you can keep strong and overcome adversity to carry on.

Affirmations: While you may have specific goals, whether it is to run the earth in the Jungle Marathon, or cycle the Cape Epic, you need to back these up with positive thoughts about yourself. Say out loud that you think that you can achieve your goals, and that you are a great runner or cyclist, and that you train hard and put in the effort. Give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work. If you don’t acknowledge your strengths to start with then this could weaken you on the long road ahead.

Vocalize your goals: Think of the bravado of boxers and how they strongly come out and say that they are going to win such and such a title and knock-out such and such a contender. They’re not just talking the talk but saying their goals out loud for all the world to hear. This adds to the pressure to achieve what they have not only set out to succeed in but what they have announced they will do. While you may not need to do a Rocky style speech, you can strengthen your ideas and benefit from the pressure of achievement by speaking out about your ambitions.

Believe in yourself: Part of believing in yourself is about trusting yourself. In any endurance activities there are going to be moments when there’s a real test to not only your physical skills but your mental abilities and strength too. Believing in yourself is about those moments along the journey of endurance when you need to easily pull out some motivation and use your initiative and instinct to get you through. It’s not just about the end goals but believing you can deal with all the difficulties along the way.

Let competition motivate not destroy: Politicians may compete by bad-mouthing their opponents but in endurance sport this is only going to weaken you. Think of competition as a driving force, a way to monitor your progress and a positive, integral part of what you are attempting to do. Every athlete knows that the focus needs to be on your own performance. If you waste too much energy and give too much thought to other people then you are not allowing your mind to support you along with the focus you deserve.

Find out more ways you can build a strong mind for endurance sports in Part 2!

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