The following post was originally featured on the Team Green Running blog, a local elite and developmental track program I am proudly partnered with and wanted to share it with you as well. Hope you like it and have a takeaway or two!
If you are unshakable at the starting line and never struggle with doubts, negative thoughts, or feeling like you underperformed, then you may skip right over this post…. BUT if you fall within the majority of athletes out there-and chances are this is the case at least some of the time, I encourage you to read on.
So you want to increase your mental game? Below I’ll list some characteristics of mentally strong runners-many of these are things I’ve seen in some amazing runners I’ve encountered in my work as a consultant and as a runner myself. Check it out:
* Mentally strong athletes are able to consistently pull positives out of any workout or race experience. Say you didn’t run your goal time for a given race…you can still pull some positives about your performance or learning experiences-which leads me to my next point…
* These athletes are constantly learning. Learning about the sport, learning about strategy, learning about themselves. These athletes are also excited about the process of learning more and improving.
* Mentally strong athletes have developed that “extra gear” when they really need it. I see this extra gear as being the ability to persist through the discomfort of running for just a bit longer or the ability to get just ‘a little’ more out of themselves than what is expected. Be advised, this takes some time and guts, but is very worth developing in yourself.
* Mentally strong runners enjoy challenging themselves and don’t feel threatened by difficult tasks.
* Mentally strong athletes are self-referenced. Comparison to others? Nah! Not these individuals. See the top two bullet points for pointers on how to develop a more self-referenced perspective. If you take a more self-referenced perspective, chances are your enjoyment of the sport will increase as well.
Think you have what it takes to get stronger?
Also, best of luck to Team Green Elite as they prep for the upcoming Olympic Trials! #rethinkingperformance