Mental Toughness

Last night on that four mile run, I wanted to stop somewhere around 20 minutes into the run. I was going around a track, and I’ve learned that tracks are evil to me. They keep me fitfully aware of all that time passing, and I can’t stand them.

And yet, I persisted.

The “old” me would’ve just given up. In fact, my mental critic said to me, “Who cares? There’s no one out here. You can just go home.” But of course, *I* was still out there, so I couldn’t just go home. I had to finish my running. That’s where the mental toughness kicked in.

I started ticking off answers to the various pains in my muscles. There was the right hip that started telling me it was in jeopardy of falling off. I said, “That’s just lactic acid building up. See how you are on the next lap. If you’re still griping, maybe I’ll stop.” The pain went away. My left hamstring burned suddenly. I said, “If you want me to stop, tell me about it on the next lap.” Nothing hurt.

My head held the reins on all my strength and energy during the run. Somewhere around 36 minutes, I said to myself that after one more lap, I’ll go run off the track and finish the rest of the run on the streets. That seemed to really perk up my entire body, and I made it through the entire four miles without further complaint.

What’s funny is that I’m using my mental toughness training at work. My main detractors are now being likened to muscle pains, and I’m treating them the same way. I’m listening to the complaint, addressing it, and working on preventing it in the future. I’m trying not to let it bother me emotionally, because just like a muscle, some people just have to use complaints as their vehicle for communication. No problem. I’ve got lots more than what they’re giving me.

Personal mantra when running up big hills: “I can handle this.” The same line works perfectly at the office.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/78154 annalisa

    That’s great, Chris! Glad you made it through the run and didn’t give up. That mental battle is honestly the toughest part of running.

    I love the cushioned surface of a track, but it’s so hard to stay focused for a steady pace run on them. Very repetitive. Tonight I’ll probably run intervals on the high school track. 1 mile warm up, 6 x 400′s with 200′s for recoveries, 1 mile cool down. Wish me luck. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/78154 annalisa

    That’s great, Chris! Glad you made it through the run and didn’t give up. That mental battle is honestly the toughest part of running.

    I love the cushioned surface of a track, but it’s so hard to stay focused for a steady pace run on them. Very repetitive. Tonight I’ll probably run intervals on the high school track. 1 mile warm up, 6 x 400′s with 200′s for recoveries, 1 mile cool down. Wish me luck. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2932366 The Running Blogfather

    Yup! 75% of running is mental – or was that 75% runners are mental – I can never get it straight.

    Try, there is no try…there is only do or not do.

    I LOVE working and discussing mental toughness. You just pressed my “excited” button Chris.

    Well done my man!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2932366 The Running Blogfather

    Yup! 75% of running is mental – or was that 75% runners are mental – I can never get it straight.

    Try, there is no try…there is only do or not do.

    I LOVE working and discussing mental toughness. You just pressed my “excited” button Chris.

    Well done my man!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2544387 Jon in Michigan

    Good job, Chris! All the internal “whining” can really wear you down (spoken by the chief of whining, internal and external). I haven’t gotten up the courage to run on the local track yet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2544387 Jon in Michigan

    Good job, Chris! All the internal “whining” can really wear you down (spoken by the chief of whining, internal and external). I haven’t gotten up the courage to run on the local track yet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2544387 Jon in Michigan

    Good job, Chris! All the internal “whining” can really wear you down (spoken by the chief of whining, internal and external). I haven’t gotten up the courage to run on the local track yet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3635049 Susan

    Wow, I get so motivated reading all these blogs. A great post, Chris. You are so right.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3635049 Susan

    Wow, I get so motivated reading all these blogs. A great post, Chris. You are so right.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3635049 Susan

    Wow, I get so motivated reading all these blogs. A great post, Chris. You are so right.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3043156 Chris

    Good luck on your run, annalisa.

    Mark, does that mean I have to buy you a drink?

    Jon, whine? You? I consider it constructive.

    Thanks, Susan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3043156 Chris

    Good luck on your run, annalisa.

    Mark, does that mean I have to buy you a drink?

    Jon, whine? You? I consider it constructive.

    Thanks, Susan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3043156 Chris

    Good luck on your run, annalisa.

    Mark, does that mean I have to buy you a drink?

    Jon, whine? You? I consider it constructive.

    Thanks, Susan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2932366 The Running Blogfather

    umm er um ah – I guess I need to be careful how I phrase things in the future!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2932366 The Running Blogfather

    umm er um ah – I guess I need to be careful how I phrase things in the future!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2932366 The Running Blogfather

    umm er um ah – I guess I need to be careful how I phrase things in the future!