How much of a role does your mind play in your training?
Many people don’t realise how often we talk to ourselves, constantly working through our own issues, making day-to-day decisions. One thing I have learnt over the years, is that hard training can take us to our most vulnerable points, we second guess ourselves, we panic, we give up.
I remember when I played football at a professional level, we had to complete 3.2km time trials. I used to feel physically sick leading up to them, knowing the pain I was about to go through by putting out my maximum effort.
I would take off hard and get into a rhythm and always try to stay with someone whom I knew had beaten me previously, but no matter what, every time I would get to the 2km mark, I was on my own, listening to all my self talk with negativity and weakness would kick in. I would tell myself that all the aches I was feeling were an injury and its ok if I stop now. I would tell myself “why the hell are you putting yourself through this?” “just give up, and go home.” These are the moments that define us in training and in life. Are you strong enough to tell yourself that no matter what you are going through, it’s going to be over soon? Are you strong enough, that when all you hear in your head is to stop, you turn that into “go harder” and take things up a notch? And the answer, no matter who you are, is YES!!
My father always said to me, if you can only just do 20 push ups with all your effort, then the first 18 mean nothing, it’s the last 2 when your doubting your strength and overcome that makes you stronger. I don’t think that every work out has to be like this, but in my opinion, this attitude holds you in good stead for when you are really tested. I challenge everyone next time you have a hard session, to live inside your mind. I challenge you to give more output when everything tells you to stop, because those are the moments that we can truly be proud of, when we know within ourselves that we just got stronger than the person we were yesterday.
Always remember that the body will respond to what the mind tells it, and its not what we do once that defines us, its what we do consistently.