>Mental Toughness & More

>Recently, I’ve been thinking about mental toughness as it relates to endurance sports.  By mental toughness, what I mean is how some folks have the ability to push through pain and perservere.  How folks can run and run and run and not quit.  How folks make the decision to not walk when they are tired.

Take, for example, fellow blogger Frayed Laces.  She recently completed the Hurt 100 – a 100 mile trail race in Hawaii.  Certainly this was a huge physical feat – but I suspect that the real challenge for her wasn’t necessarily how her body felt, but the fight she had with herself to keep going.  That kind of mental toughness totally blows me away.

Another example of mental toughness:  I’ve mentioned on the blog before that my son is a swimmer.  He swims on a year-round club, and is pretty competitive (he raced in 10 events at the Florida Junior Olympics last year).  Two weeks ago, he finished a truly killer workout – a main set 2200 yards of butterfly.  As we talked about it, I asked him what he did when he was tired.  I fully expected him to say that he slowed down or took an easy interval.  To my surprise, his response was, “I went harder and kept pushing.”

That response blew my mind, and I wondered if it were me would I react the same way.

I really thought about mental toughness this weekend on my 20 mile run.  In the last five miles, I kept thinking about how tired I was…how easy it would be to just stop, sit down and rest.  I kept going, but the whole run caused me to question just how tough I am mentally.  Is it “normal” to want to slow down, or is it just that I lack mental toughness?  I’m not sure – haven’t figured it out yet. 

What I do know is that when I read or hear stories of what I perceive as super-human endurance effort I’m totally awed at the ability that folks have to stay the course.  It’s a skill I aspire to have.

Random Tuesday Thoughts:

  • Tomorrow evening at 8pm ET, Rev3 will reprise their ongoing interview series on Blogtalk radio.  The interviewee?  None other than Bree Wee!  Check out the interview at this link:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rev3tri/2011/01/27/rev3-radio-with-special-guest-bree-wee
  • Check back tomorrow for a new “Ten Questions With…” interview.  This time it’s with James Lawrence – a triathlete who in the quest to raise money for a very worthy charity raced & completed 22 Ironman 70.3 races in 2010. 
  • If you completed the TriMadness coaching survey, THANKS!  I’ve been pouring over the results, and will publish soon.  I’ve got to admit, I’ve been slightly surprised at the results.
  • Sponsor updates:  Welcome back to Team Trakkers:  Tri-Swim, Foggle & Tri-Slide.  I’ve talked numerous times about how WAY cool the anti-chlorine products from Tri-Swim are.  Foggle is the best anti-fog wipe on the market, and Tri-Slide is an amazing lubricant!  Team Trakkers will be wearing Canari gear this year!  Welcome to the team!  And finally, TYR is the newest member of the Trakkers team, and will be the supplier of swim products!
Advertisements

9 thoughts on “>Mental Toughness & More

  1. >I think there are two ways to be mentally tough at those times: 1. To be experienced, knowing you've odne something similar before and 2. Having someone to answer to, like a coach. As adults, we often don't have to answer to anyone, really, so we can bail when we feel like it.

  2. >Love the post! In my opinion, I think menatl toughness is directly related to one's personality…you have it or you don't-really a hard thing to teach. I think you're seeing it develop in your son which is cool to watch I am sure. I also think this toughness is seen in other areas of one's life-not just with sports. Interesting to see how those who display this toughness in sports respond to other of life's "tough times"

  3. >I am often in awe of the mental toughness I perceive of others. I know that I have some mental toughness but I just don't have enough. I struggle in every workout to make sure I am being mentally tough. I think it is a skill like everything else in endurance sports. It is just one we continue to develop and hone. So let's both continue to work on it and conquer it everyday!

  4. >Mental toughness is a tough one, no pun intended. I think it's only human to want to stop doing something when it hurts or you are tired. Mental preparedness is just as important as toughness. I know I've been on a run and been ill prepared mentally and totally flaked. It's not that I hadn't run that distance before I just wasn't feeling it and "it" took over and my run was over… Knowing you can do something and being mentally prepared I think will get you through the last "5 miles" Thanks for making me think šŸ™‚ I like it!!!

  5. >Mental toughness is a tough one, no pun intended. I think it's only human to want to stop doing something when it hurts or you are tired. Mental preparedness is just as important as toughness. I know I've been on a run and been ill prepared mentally and totally flaked. It's not that I hadn't run that distance before I just wasn't feeling it and "it" took over and my run was over… Knowing you can do something and being mentally prepared I think will get you through the last "5 miles" Thanks for making me think šŸ™‚ I like it!!!

  6. >I love this…actually, I love your son's response!! Wow. I think the thing with mental toughness is – it is something you can build, but can't really teach. For me, getting my butt out the door to run in teh cold dark after work, or in the snow, to be physically beat partway through a training ride but still finish…or when I don't really want to do the workout and do anyway…it is all deposits in the mental toughness "bank"…I think some folks start with more coins in the bank than others…

  7. >Thanks for the heads up on Bree. I will have to check in.Mental toughness is both relative and as I have learned over time, is directly proportional to past experience. For me, that is probably the biggest tool…

  8. >Thanks for another awesome post. I struggle with this. I think I have it when it comes to not quitting, but not necessarily when it comes to pushing myself to that next level (if that makes any sense).

Comments are closed.