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


About Coach Kathleen

Coaching since 2004, I have coached both young and old athletes from those achieving provincial and national medals in track, biathlon and cross country to runners running their first ever half marathon or marathon. I am a specialist in youth coaching and my coaching philosophy is to not only help each athlete achieve their best with their athletic talent but to guide each athlete in developing character and transforming their lives beyond the track. As an athlete I have competed at high levels across all the running disciplines, track, road, cross country and trail running as well as internationally in triathlon. I have a personal best of 2 hours 45 min for the marathon and have twice been part of the winning ladies team in the AfricanX trail race. Qualifications IAAF Athletics Lecturer Level 3 Distance Running Coach SAQ Fundamental Movement Certificate Personal Running Performances
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