How do I learn mental hardness

Train mental strength for the tough moments in sport

Anyone can train mental strength. It shows up when it gets difficult: At some point, over long distances, these questions come to mind: "Why am I doing this here?", Or: "What is this all about?", "What am I doing to myself here?" . If you don't quickly find a positive answer to that, those doubts will eat their way up to your feet and eventually force you to walk or even to give up.

Your personal success begins with an attractive goal. Our training advice will help you with the formulation.

Train mental strength - for more willpower

Even experienced endurance athletes tell us that in almost every competition they think about giving up. Is that how you feel too? Sometimes it's just a trick in your head that will help you cope with the exertion. In truth, I am convinced that mental strength has more to do with the game of concentration and distraction than with willpower. Mentally strong runners trick themselves. I'll show you a few examples in a moment. To train mental strength means to steer your thoughts in a different direction.

Mental strength during a marathon

Take the marathon as an example. You can see it as a great, almost inhuman effort or “only half a work day with a good four hours of exercise in the fresh air”. This is what MyGoal Training® founder Mathias likes to say in lectures and seminars. Sounds easy right? And indeed - some road construction workers sweat more and, above all, longer! That shouldn't downplay the performance of a marathon runner, because - this is also a mental trick - you can be proud of doing something that many others cannot.

However, mental strength often arises from not taking one's own problems so seriously. This is even more true in sport when we have sought the challenge ourselves. You knew it beforehand: It was going to be a tough day with a furious finale, a great finish!

Train mental strength: focus on the goal and concentrate on every step!

You can already control your mental strength during training. Are you consciously looking for challenges on the way: Can I get up this ascent at a run? Can I run through this kilometer-long straight quickly? On the way, concentrate on details that will later help you to change the focus - away from pain, for example, to what is going well: How is my arm use? Am I walking upright or bent over?

A running mantra gives you mental strength

Positive self-talk is important. A running mantra helps me when it gets difficult: “My steps, my pace, my run!” I say this in front of me so often until it runs smoothly (again). On some days you need this self-suggestion from start to finish. The conscious memory of good moments is also helpful when things get difficult. Concentrate fully on what you are doing: How is your breathing? Is my face relaxed? Are my hands loose or do I cramp more and more? By focusing on what you are doing right now, you can fully arrive in the moment. This can lead to a real feeling of happiness, the famous "flow".

So, when things get tough, shift your attention to controllable details. Example of a stitch in the side. You can literally breathe it away. To do this, you have to consciously breathe in and aaa out while running - yes, longer than in! That literally makes the pain forgotten. There are many such mental tricks. Which help you?

The 3 secrets you can use to train mental strength

  1. goal orientation! The goal must be realistic and motivating. Every world record attempt begins with the certainty that you basically have what it takes!
  2. Awareness and focus! Nobody runs a marathon or does a triathlon on the side. The effort cannot be denied.
  3. deflection! Negative thoughts can be turned around! From kilometer 35, the marathon is only 7, 6, 5, 4 ...

We often talk about the challenges of endurance training and competition, and in any training plan the focus is naturally on movement. But mental exercises are just as important. It starts with the right goal. Those who expect too much of themselves, misjudge their performance and the potential for improvement run the risk of frustration and disappointment.

Training mental strength also means learning to assess yourself correctly.

And one more thing: focus on the end of the competition and not on the start! We got to know athletes who had to give up prematurely at the Berlin Marathon, for example. They had one thing in common: Everyone speaks of their “big day”, the “dream” in Berlin of “going to the start”. You tweet exuberant texts and happy selfies from the starting block and from the first meters to the Victory Column. But they forget what is really ahead of them: a strenuous day - or only half a day! How to take it.

Is your goal realistic? Let our coaching team advise you! You can find the triathlon training plan here.

Be strong in your head and: arrive at the finish line healthy!

Categories mental training