It’s Marathon season and everywhere across the globe men and women of all ages and abilities are lacing up their trainers to pound the streets for 26.2 miles – an incredible feat of human endurance.
Apart from the miles and miles of training and suitable nutrition, what does it take to push yourself to run that far and how do you keep going when the going gets tough? The answer: Mental Toughness.
For decades now, researchers have studied Mental Toughness in sport to unpick just what it involves. One model that has been dominant in research is the 4C’s model which encompasses four key areas as set out below.
Do you see your upcoming Marathon as a challenge? Something to get your teeth into? Something to test yourself physical and mental ability? This positive mindset is a great step towards mental toughness.
How committed have you been to your marathon training? How committed are you to achieve your goal of finishing / finishing time? This part of mental toughness is all about making commitments and sticking to a measurable plan of action to help you reach your goals.
Do you focus your efforts on what you CAN control rather than what you can’t? Do you plan ahead for the tough times by using proactive coping strategies? Can you control your emotions during the tough times so that you remain task-focussed? Control the controlables is a great mantra to use!
Do you have a strong belief in your ability that you can achieve what you want to achieve in your Marathon? Is this belief unshakeable? Confidence is another essential component of Mental Toughness.
By breaking Mental Toughness down in this way, we can address some of the areas that might need a little more work. The good news is that there are lots of practical things that you can do to improve your Mental Toughness: proactive coping skills, managing your self-talk, using imagery and rationalising self-doubts are just some of the ways.
A great starting point is to check out our Confidence Coaching course which involves a number of these skills and strategies!