Mental Toughness

“You can have all the fitness and equipment in the world, but if you show up to the start line without confidence, you’ll show up to the finish line with disappointment.”   ~Carrie Cheadle

What qualities does it take to be mentally tough and cross the finish line happy and satisfied with your performance?

  1. Resilience…it is important to respond to challenges, unexpected obstacles and setbacks like a rubber ball; bounce back higher and farther than you set out to bounce the first time. When something doesn’t go as planned, gets you down, or sets you back, don’t let it define you and keep you down. Get back up and fight harder than you ever thought possible. The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong, but only in terms of how you can learn from it and make sure that next time you will know how to make sure it goes right. “The next time you want to go crawl under a rock, remember that one event doesn’t define you and that your accomplishments wouldn’t feel as good or be as rewarding if you didn’t have to overcome some challenges and encounter some heartbreak along the way.” ~Carrie Cheadle
  2. Focus…know your goals and don’t let them out of your sight. Focus. There will be times when things don’t go as planned. Focus. There will be times when things are tough. Focus. There will be internal distractions. Focus. There will be external distractions. Focus. There will be times when things go according to the plan. Focus. There will be times when things seem easy. Focus. There will be times when things go better than you had planned. Focus. There will be things that are out of your control. Let them go. Focus on the things that you have control over; don’t waste your time and energy on things that are out of your control. Focus. There will be times you need to overcome pressures…focus, dig deep and persevere!!focus
  3. Strength…every workout that you complete adds a card to your deck. It is easy to rip one card in half, but much more difficult to rip a deck of cards in half. By keeping your focus and completing your scheduled workouts, you are setting yourself up for a much more successful race. The thicker the deck of cards, the stronger you’ll be (both physically and mentally) for your next workout and on race day.
  4. Preparation…you have to want to cross the finish line. In order to get to the finish line, you will need to have the determination to work hard to show up at the start line. The only way to get to the finish line is to first cross the start line. It is important to dream, and #dreambig, but the only way to accomplish goals and dreams is to work hard, learn from mistakes/failures and prepare, both physically and mentally, for what lies ahead. Put a plan into place and execute…Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 2.19.10 PM
  5. Vision…Where do you want to go? What are your goals/hopes/dreams? How do you plan to accomplish them? What steps do you need to take right now to get you closer to accomplishing them? These are all questions that should have solid answers to get you to whatever finish line you have set. Without vision, it is difficult to have success. Without vision, it is difficult to accomplish goals and fulfill dreams.What road do I take
  6. Confidence…BELIEVE in yourself, your abilities and your training. Confidence is not arrogance. How you see yourself is key…even if you doubt yourself, “fake it ’til you make it” and eventually you will start to believe in your training, your abilities and yourself!! The body will achieve what the mind believes 🙂 What do you have to lose???? Even in the face of doubt.kitty vs lion  doubt vs failure
  7. Trust…trust the process. Show up, do the work, breathe, build momentum, make sure the flame  stays lit. “Figure out what lights your fire, then chase the match.” Be present in the moment, learn from the moment and trust that it will make you stronger/faster/more prepared for what is to come in the future. Trust yourself. Trust your training. Trust that you’ve done all the work. Trust your abilities. Trust that you are ready. Trust others. “Hold the vision, trust the process.” hold the vision trust the process

Mental toughness is not something that develops overnight. It has taken me a long time to build up my mental toughness and feel confident in my abilities, my training and myself so I can cross the finish line happy and satisfied. I have found that dedicating 5 minutes everyday to mental training (visualization, mantras, telling myself positive things, etc.) has really helped build my mental toughness to where it is today. I hope that my mental toughness continues to grow with time and experience!

Which of these qualities do you excel at? Which of these qualities do you need to work on? What qualities would you add to this list?

12 thoughts on “Mental Toughness

  1. This probably couldn’t have come at a better time for me! Counting down the days til race day and it’s true, you have to go into it with confidence or your mind will crumble. I keep my kids and husband in mind when I’m feeling low – all the time away, all the money I’ve spent – don’t let it go to waste. I’m finally able to channel knowing what it’s like to put it all out there and finish knowing I tried my best, and that’s the best feeling of all, even if I didn’t meet my goal. It’s a process, that’s for sure!

  2. Great post and all of these are important pieces! I especially like how you defined “strength” as a deck of cards. Very creative analogy.

    I think it is interesting how many of these attributes play off one another. Mental toughness is necessary to get through those extra challenging training sessions and these challenging training sessions are all needed to build up the level of preparedness (strength) which in turn makes you feel ready for the race and that gives you confidence when you get to the start line. The feeling of being prepared for a race is so amazing and knowing that you did what was required to be ready is so gratifying.

  3. I’m a visionary for sure, sometimes too much so for my own good. Great post, lots of awesome information to digest! I could have used some more mental toughness tonight during my run, oof.

  4. All these are great things to work on your mental strength! I like to do vision statements. I prepare physically well so I can easily mental put that on my check list!!
    Carrie Cheadle is totally the guru on mental strength!! Have you read her book? On Top Of Your Game! That was a great book. She makes you do lots of work sheets to help you focus on different parts of the mental game!! 🙂

    1. I agree Leslie…when you are physically prepared, a lot of the mental preparation comes with it. I have read On Top of Your Game by Carrie Cheadle. So good! The worksheets are super helpful!

  5. “Hold the Vision, Trust the Process” is one of my favorites! The ‘match quote’ is also on my chalkboard in my pain cave, it motivates me everyday! I feel as though I have a TON of resilience when it comes to racing but I need to work on my confidence. I need to stop thinking I’m going to ‘struggle’ on the bike, for example, and instead believe I can kick butt!! 🙂 Great post!

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