Mental Tenacity


I love to quote the famous Kenyan saying: “Train hard, race easy”, to my athletes. The other day though teenage wisdom spoke right back at me when one of my boys responded with, “Kathleen, a race always hurts”. He had summed up correctly. A race does always hurt, the guys in the front are just hurting at a much faster pace than the guys at the back. In fact, the super fit Kenyan like ones are probably hurting the most, that’s what makes them so good.

The legendary Steve Prefontaine, who was known for his superhuman pain threshold once remarked, “The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.” 

In fact even if you are running well within your comfort zone pace, if you run long enough, things are going start hurting eventually.

The good news? The sense of victory and endorphin high from conquering the pain is pure gladiator like awesomeness! and that, is why, we love endurance running.

Now that you have embraced that it is gonna hurt, how can you challenge your mind to toughen up and stay focused?

  1. Get out of your comfort zone in training.
  2. Train with others that are slightly faster than you and hang on for your life!
  3. Push hard in the last 10-20 minutes of your LSD.
  4.  Run “over the top” of hills.
  5. Minimize stops and walk breaks.
  6. Set a few time/distance challenges and tell everyone you know that you are going to ace them.
  7. Do point to point runs that you cannot cut short. (running to and from work is a great option!)
  8. Run no matter how windy, hot or rainy. Just get out and run.
  9. Follow your morning LSD with an afternoon mountain hike.
  10. Run a really boring loop over and over again.

If you have any other great mind game ideas, post them in the comments. Would love to hear from you.

To the max!

Coach Kathleen