I have a favor to ask of you and MENTAL TOUGHNESS!

Will somebody come figure out how to get the chocolate off of these because I really want the inside gooey caramel right this second.  I don’t care how you get it off but just leave me the caramel and I will be happy.

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(Billy, I know you taught me how to make my computer take pictures the right way and not flip them but I already forgot.  Computers are hard.)

If you wouldn’t mind getting the piece of paper out of my hair and helping me to wake up a little bit too, that would also help.  I didn’t run this morning because we went to bed way too late (I just realized that not enough sleep will be a daily thing in a few months…I should have sucked it up and woken up) but I WILL run after work today.  And I WILL stretch.  I WILL eat a vegetable tonight but let’s be honest, I will just have a carrot with my stack of pancakes because that is what really sounds good.

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I have really been wanting to talk about mental toughness lately.  I feel like on one hand it is a great thing that I am easing back on my workouts and being okay with it but on the other hand I don’t like how my mind has become weaker when it comes to running.  Lately I have come up with silly excuses to stop early, sleep in and skip workouts.  I think that 99% of the reason I was able to run a 3:04 marathon was because of my mental toughness back in the day.   (My timing chip said 3:04:5?…I started a few seconds after the gun went off)

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I was reading Mind Gym (for the 40th time) and came to the chapter about mental toughness and wanted to share some of my favorite parts with you.  I know that I need to ease back on my physical toughness right now but I don’t want to lose that mental toughness when it comes to running.

“A person who is mentally tough looks at competition as a challenge to rise up to rather than a threat to back down from.  Like physical skills, mental toughness can be learned through quality instruction and practice.”

“The most important attribute a player must have is mental toughness.”

“Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder.  Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up.”

The C’s of being MENTALLY TOUGH.

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Who wants to work on these with me?!?!  Do you consider yourself mentally tough? Are you confident about your running?

When you start making up excuses for yourself when you want to quit early how do you get past those thoughts and keep going?

What was the sweetest thing you ate today?!?!

How was your run today?  Anyone else running later today…help motivate me:)

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62 comments

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I am so not mentally tough – I always make deals with myself – like if I don’t feel like continuing in 5 min than I’ll stop or I’ll go one more mile and if I still want to stop then I will.. but most of the time after that 5 min or extra mile I’m like well I’ve gone this far I should just finish… so I guess thats how I keep going? But I also find that if I don’t sleep in my running clothes then just the simple act of changing keeps me from going half the time because I so enjoy sitting in my PJs on the couch with the pup…

Um I just made sweet potato pancakes!!! They were soooo good and they are so my favorite thing ever to eat!! I did Jillian Michaels killer buns and thighs DVD and my Nike training club app shoulder ripper workout! Maybe I’ll run tomorrow…

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What a great challenge…the confidence is the biggest thing for me, as in: can I really keep that pace for that many miles? With a recent PR, I felt like I had played it a tiny bit safe because I was afraid I’d blow up if I pushed too hard in a few places.

I channel the phrases that I’ve heard from coaches when the going gets tough. You’ve got this. You’re strong enough. Keep pushing.

I’m addicted to dried fruit, which is pretty sweet. I’m afraid to find out how much sugar is added; I’d rather pretend that it’s just natural sweetness, but I think I know it’s not. Shh.

No running in thunderstorms for me. Still trying to decide whether to hit CrossFit since we’re already into homework and dinner time on the east coast.

Hope you have a great run this evening!

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Today’s a rest day for me!

Ahh, milk duds–I love those! Have you ever had the werther’s caramels? They aren’t the hard ones that you suck on, but they are like regular chewy caramels…they’re pretty good and aren’t covered in chocolate :D

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The sweetest thing I have ate today was an apple chicken sausage & vanilla almond milk, although not at the same time.

I need some mental toughness this week for sure. You post is perfect for me right now. I have a half marathon Saturday & where it is at, has snow in the forecast for tonight.

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I’ve decided not to run because of a cold today. Now I am thinking, if I am not mentally tough or just making the right decision?

Confidence is so important- I finished a half marathon last year with a wonky knee by telling myself everything’s going to be alright.

Sweetest thing I ate today was my berry banana smoothie for breakfast..yumz!

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Wow – thanks for posting this! I needed this today. I’m doing a half marathon on Monday and really trying for a 2:45 (I’m a little slower than you haha) and the course has hills…which I didn’t really (okay, didn’t at ALL) train for. I’ll be thinking of being mentally tough while I’m running :)

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I love it. Mental toughness is a key ingredient to running for me. Some days that’s just sucked dry when I don’t have a goal I am working on. Yes, I will work on that with you!
When I’m tired and want to quit, I set small goals like run to the tree and then we can stop, but once I get to that tree, I try to keep going and just make it to the next landmark. I keep doing it till I finish. Or I look forward to a reward. Just got to finish then I can go get a smoothie…or froyo :)

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I’m definitely not mentally tough, I need to work on believing in myself and not being afraid of failing!

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The sweetest thing I ate today was a banana with peanut butter…so good. I’m going to go for a run after work in 95 degree heat, if I can do it, you can too! :)

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I think mental toughness is a great topic, but I also think you can (and should!) continue to cut yourself slack while you are pregnant. I was a surgery resident while pregnant, and had always relied on “mental toughness” to get through many things. I had always had the experience that if I tried a little harder, dug a little deeper, I could get anything done. With pregnancy, I came up against a real brick wall and found that mental toughness required me to admit that limit, and worse, let other people know I had limits. Surgery is this culture of work harder, keep going, never complain, and it was difficult for me to speak up and say, no I can’t do a late afternoon operation after I’ve been up for 24 hours. So I don’t think you’re getting any less tough, I think it’s just changing what it looks like.

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For the most part, yes, I do have mental toughness. I was kind of born with it (a weird gift I guess), but of course not every day nor every workout is easy or awesome. I think it’s important to realize that failure is a VERY good thing and is there to help us be more confident in the long run!

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This is a great post! I too, need to work on my mental strength when it comes to running. I often get nervous to push myself, thinking I can’t handle it. I really like the quote from the book about remaining confident and positive.

When I start to make excuses for myself, I often think – this will be over fairly soon, and it will feel so amazing when I’m done to know that I pushed myself. I also try to just focus on my running form and breathing.

I haven’t really ate anything sweet yet today! I am saving it for some dark chocolate this evening.

I did not run today, but I went to my all-girls workout group, which was fun. Yesterday we did a timed mile and it felt amazing to run full force for just one mile.

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My dearest…….I hate to say it, but while your preg that mental toughness might not be the same. Your mentality is fueled by gutting through the uncomfortable, being competitive, and enjoying the sufferfest………because you are smart enough to not run like that with child……your motivation will not have the same fire…..it won’t.
I will help you work on not making excuses, because you are a friend and I know sticking to workouts is good for your mental well being……..but I think it might be 3 more months until the mental tough beast comes out in you when you want to get your running mojo back. And trust me, it will!!!!!!!!!

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On marathon talk podcasts, they talk about “zipping up your man-suit” to refer to being tough and getting on with the challenge ahead. On all honesty, my “man-suit” rarely makes it out of the wardrobe, but being mentally strong is something I really need to work on in regards to my fitness and running.

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I’d be happy to come over and lick off the chocolate, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want them after that. ;) You just need a big jar of caramel ice cream topping and a spoon!!

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So excited I’m going to reserve this book from the library right now!

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You are mentally tough, maybe you are just shifting your focus on to other important life happenings. Pregnancy is hard work and you seem like such a great Mum already, it takes mental toughness during pregnancy to get through the day, eat right, exercise, sleep well etc. I can not wait to hear in future posts how you trained hard and accomplished a sub 3. Marathon, if that’s what you want you’ll do it when the times right.

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I consider myself to be fairly mentally tough, but we all have our moments of weakness. I actually just blogged about one such moment I experienced at crossfit a few days ago. I ended up getting through a really tough workout, even though I really wanted to quit. It took me forever to finish, but I realized that quitting wouldn’t be cheating anyone but myself. I just had to remind myself how badly I wanted it and that no one else was making me do it. By the way, I actually got crushed by a girl who is around 25 weeks pregnant and was using more weight on her barbell than me! Yay for strong, healthy preggos!

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I can be mentally tough…but I’m not all the time.

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YOu totally have the right to get as much sleep as you possibly can. And you should.
I went for a hard run yesterday and am hurting so we are going for a family walk later.
i think they sell straight up caramel cubes in the candy store

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I went to the gym for random cardio and a heavy-weights leg workout. I totaled only 4.35 miles on the treadmill and stairclimber, but it still felt amazing to sweat!
I don’t think there’s any shower that feels better than one where you sweat from every pore on your body.
Actually, the shower after a race is pretty awesome because I usually wear a lot of sunblock :P

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I definitely struggle with being tough mentally. Sometimes I let negative thoughts overcome me and don’t try and fight them. Not everyday will go by smoothly, we will all have struggles in pushing ourselves to workout and making good choices. Just remember you have a beautiful baby growing inside of you. And you probably won’t even be thinking of these things once your baby is born :) Great post!

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just what I needed Janae! :) thanks!!

first I want to tell you that I think you’re doing such a great job with maintaining your fitness & diet during your pregnancy. you ran 13.1 in 1:39 during your 2nd trimester!! take advantage of the days that your energy levels are up & rest & relax during the days that you’re not feeling it. sometimes just thinking about how you’ll feel AFTER your workout will motivate you to start & finish.

I feel like before races doubt like to creep in. sometimes I know that I can be my worst enemy & doubt my training, ability, etc. did I do enough? am I really ready? I don’t like to make excuses for myself. My husb & I parent this way w/our kids also. “No excuses!” during races when it gets hard I tell myself the opposite of neg. feeling that try to flood my brain. things like…”I’m strong”, “I can do this” I think of the kids, blessings, the great things that life has to offer. :)

sweetest thing I had today…I treated the boys to an ice-cream cone & licked the sides of their cones (to prevent drips in the car!) :)

luv ya!!! xo

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I think a proper solution to the milk dud dilemma is to freeze them, and then chip off the chocolate, either with a utensil or your teeth!I think freezing makes the chocolate a lot easier to flake off!:) On a more serious note, I don’t think I am that mentally tough too– usually I am committed and consistent but not that courageous. Your post is a great reminder for me to work on this– thanks for discussing this topic!

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You just ran across my tv!

And I suggest the bags of baking caramels, no chocolate AND no wrappers!

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I totally want to work on this with you! I get so frustrated with myself because I know I’m capable of doing so many things but then I’m just like…a nap sounds good right about now…and I can’t even use the pregnancy excuse.

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Oh man, I bet you are so upset about Inside Edition. No worries though, you are still awesome and I still love your blog! I’m only 19 but you’re like my running idol! :)

(BTW, I was so upset that I didn’t get to see you in real life, sorta kinda/on TV!)

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I am mentally tough about SOME things, like my job and holding a yoga pose! I am the toughest when someone challenges my ability, then I really get tough mostly to prove them wrong. But I am not tough about running. I haven’t ran at all this week, I just can’t MAKE myself do it so it comes and goes.

***Watched for you on Inside Edition. Bummer they didn’t show you or Billy!

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I would say that I am a mentally tough person, but sometimes if I get in the habit of skipping workouts or putting them off, it gets easier and easier to do. I’m all for becoming tougher mentally and physically! One way I get through those thoughts is to think of where I want to be and why I am trying to reach those goals. A lot of times I tell myself, “Just suck it up and do it, Natalie. Quit being a baby.” Tough love on myself seems to work haha.

The sweetest thing I ate today…either the sweet potato I just inhaled or the snack I had earlier – dark chocolate baking chips and pieces of roasted coconut. Love.

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I’m trying to become more mentally tough, but its hard! I’ve gotten better at it though the more races I run. I guess I started to realize that I CAN do it if I stay positive. Its hard though.

I had a nice 4 mile run today! I had a half last weekend and this was my first run since then. It was so fun :)

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You’ll get it back – don’t worry. Best thing is to listen to your body. You will be have a whole new kind of mental toughness after the baby. btw – LOVE milk duds. but they really stick to your teeth! I just had a Snickers ice cream bar… so yummy.

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I definitely need to work on my mental toughness. I know my running would improve immensely if I could push through some of my mental blocks.
Milk Duds = heaven in a box.

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Mental toughness with running is something I am always working on. I do think that you shouldn’t push yourself too hard when your pregnant though. Look at all the toughness you are already putting your body through just by growing a baby! I have had to cut back some on my running because my hips kill after and I can’t walk if I push it too hard. It has mentally been a challenge but I know I will get it all back after the baby comes :). The most important thing is to take care of you and her!

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I think it must take a lot of mental toughness to workout while pregnant. I’m totally impressed by how active you’ve been!
I think there is a fine line between ‘mental toughness’ and ignoring your body and overdoing it. I try not to read too much into one lazy workout and look at my activity over the last week/month. So long as I’m staying active I’m happy.

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mentally i am a pannnnssssyyyyyyy. the sweetest thing i ate today was cookie dough :)

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Hey cutie! I just wanted to let you know I am so in your shoes! When I hit 24 weeks my body basically shut down. I start getting weird pains in my legs and working out (running) became to hard so i’ve had to slow down too. It’s all part of the game and our mental toughness will come back. After having my twins I was more determined than ever to PR at my first marathon and I did :) Now I have that same goal in mind after I come back from having this baby. Good luck and don’t be hard on yourself!

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The more I run the more I learn it’s 98% mental! If my mind is determined then it’ll be a great run. If I continue to keep thinking about other (negative) things it’s a terrible run…I still have no idea how to master it but I think it’s a constant work in progress.

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Great motivational quotes!!

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I’m sure your body is just storing up your mental toughness for your delivery. ;)

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Me, Me and ME!! Can I please work on these with you?? I am so down in the mental category. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for a great motivating post!! Cheers for becoming mentally strong!!

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omg, I completely need to work on these. I love these quotes, can you send them to me as a favorite, to post on my frig?

You will? Thanks you are the bestest!

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I need to work on my mental toughness too! It’s so much easier to stay in bed, watch tv, read a book,…whatever! But I remind myself that getting dressed and out there is more than half if my battle. If I really need an este shove when I feel like cutting a run short, I “punish” myself with an extra 5 minutes or an extra mile, just to price to myself that I can do it, and next time, jumping that extra mental hurdle isn’t quite so difficult.

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I struggle so much with be mentally tough! I bought Mind Gym though (thanks to your blog) and it is awesome. It is really helping me to understand that almost everything I do can be done if I believe I can do it.

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Girl, you are SO tough, you are going to get back your physical toughness as soon as you’re done providing for this sweet little life growing inside of you!

I always hear that people come back even faster after they have a baby…and you’re going to come back SO fast and break a 3:00 marathon before you know it. You’ll squeeze it in before HRG baby #2 comes along :)

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You’re such an inspiration, Janae! Half the battle (or even more) of running for me is definitely mental! I always find myself running faster outdoors and I think that’s down to me refusing to up the speed on the treadmill because I don’t think I can do it! Sometimes we need to stop overthinking and just do! Today was a cardio day for me but I spent it on the arc trainer- and now I can’t wait to get a run in this weekend :)!

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For the most part, I think I’m mentally tough. One thing I do need to work on is my confident level. I don’t push myself (pace) as much as I could and I always end up with energy leftover. The sweetest thing I ate today were a couple of frozen cadbury eggs from Easter.

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Thanks for this post. I am in a bit of a workout funk, but I got up and went to CrossFit this morning after a 5 minute internal battle while lying in bed. Once I get up and moving, its fine, but that first step is hard.

With running, I need about 10 minutes…after that I’m fine. Around 45-50 mins, I hit another sweet spot where I feel amazing. I love the part about control…do what you can, dont worry about the rest.

Confidence is key…I love your quote from a previous post: Be your biggest cheerleader. I always use that in a race.

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i have the answer to ur question…i’ll take the chocolate and u can have all the middles!!! we are the total opposite, i don’t like milk duds all that much because of the centers, i’m all about the coating. ;)

mental toughness is something i think is always a point of progress for any/all runners. the whole aspect of it intrigues me, i love hearing stories/points of view from other runners. the cool thing is when u kno u’ve been really tough or broken to a new ‘level’. u kno u’ve still got that grit in there, when u’re ready physically to get back into gamer mode u will. ;)

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SUPER CREEP STATUS – I was watching something on TV today and an ad came on for Inside Edition and guess who was running on it? You, my dear! I think I made my hubs think I was cray cray for screaming “LOOK IT’S JANAE” but it was worth it – you’re famous, even on tv down here in Mesa AZ. :)

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I am not mentally tough or confident about my running, its something I realllllly need to work on! I have a tragic tendency to both self deprecate and beat myself up in my head!

I try and say ‘just one more mile, one more mile at this pace’ etc. Sometimes I speed up- occasionally it helps me push past the funk.

I had a Starbucks frappe but the coffee light with skim milk (so its only like 80kcal, not 4000000)- they have a small amount of sugar syrup in.

I’m running later today- a brief wee leg stretch out in the beautiful weather then roll roll roll my legs (half marathon on Sunday!) xx

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I wish i was tougher….these Cs are definitely way to go. I think I need to start with staying calm…clue: 4 year old: toothbrush stuffed in the drain, cat: pooh on the carpet (again), 9 year old: eating the last and therefore MY pancake …
I am going to go to the gym after work (tempo run), i hope to get back home calmer and better person
No sweets yeat, but my time will come!
hope you had some awesome run yourself!

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I ate cookies today. I do NOT consider myself mentally tough when it comes to running. But on a tennis court, I do. So I have to find a way to translate it from the tennis court to the race.

The Kidless Kronicles

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I feel ya girl! I find way to many excuses to bow out and I really need to get my mental toughness back! Good goal to reach for this summer!!..

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I make up excuses every once in a while, but I know that at least the guilt will get to me enough to get out there later in the day, so it’s not all lost :).

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I’ve been sick, so I haven’t run since Saturday. I’ll be happy when I can get back to my usual workout routine!

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Can I have a stack of pancakes with you?! :) Did you watch the whole inside edition? Did you see the like 800lb. bride to be? They showed her ‘snack’ which included a RIDICULOUS amount of food…but there was a stack of pancakes on the side that I was pretty much drooling over. Haha!!
You know what? I think you are awesome! I seriously don’t know anyone as hard core as you when it comes to running…and you are pregnant!!!! You amaze me everyday with your running abilities, so don’t get too hard on yourself!! But I’m here to back you up with the no excuses thing…I’ve noticed I’ve started doing it lately too..although once I do actually get my workout in, I feel better, but sometimes it takes a LOT of motivation to get me there :)

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I think you’re allowed to make up excuses to not run right now! Although I’ve never been pregnant, I’m sure just getting up and working all day is exhausting!
I JUST started Chrissie Wellington’s book, and I think she’ll talk a lot about mental toughness in it. I can’t wait!

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I IMMEDIATELY ordered this book after reading these passages. I actually thought of my son right away because he’s a golfer on his high school team and has had an awful time this year not keeping his head clear. I’m so excited to give it to him!! I plan on reading it too but I really hope it can help him!

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Mental toughness is really hard. I love those quotes – I need to start thinking with that attitude.
I had a chocolate chip red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting :) heaven.
I’m just getting back into training after a hip injury and I ran a 2 mile tempo run at 8:20 pace with 1/2 mile warm up/cool down. I WISH I could run a 3:04 marathon!!!!!

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Mental toughness is seriously so important! I need to get that book and read it pronto!

Yesterday I ran a 4 miler in the a.m. before work and taught a power packed dance class in the evening…seriously had to have some mental toughness to teach that class after a long day! I think the peanut m&ms I had earlier in the day helped :-)

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I was just thinking about mental toughness during a workout myself! I had the Marine Corp Half Marathon on Sunday. I was shooting for 1:45:00 and felt fabulous! At mile 3 I got the WORST pain in the ball of my foot. I went about 1/2 a mile before I decided to quit. It was excruciating. I pulled over to the side and took my shoe off but couldn’t deal with the embarressment of quitting a race I had worked SO hard for and told SO many people about. I ran the rest of the race but it was the hardest, longest race of my life (and I just did my first full marathon in March). I could not get out of my head. The ENTIRE run. I beat myself up. I ended up getting 1:55 (which is actually 4 minutes faster than last year, but in the past year my running has gotten drastically better and I’ve dropped about 60-90 sec off each mile!).

Well it turns out that I actually broke my foot….and not a stress fracture. I snapped my second metetarsal in half….it is in multiple pieces and displaced (which probably happened over the 10 miles I decided to run on it). However, the amazement that people have for the fact that I ran a half marathon on a broken foot and beat last years time (and the men in my office who ran! lol) is awesome. Now that I know what I am physically and mentally capable of doing….I’m SO excited to get back in there (after proper rest and recovery – 6 weeks at least….) and so them what I can do on a good foot:-)

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I LOVE these quotes! I’ve been working a lot on the whole mind gym loveliness while dealing with my stress fractures (that’s right – the doctor found 2 in my foot!) because half of healing is teaching yourself to listen better to your body and not give in to what your minds says. These quotes are great!
And yes – I got rid of the foot boot yesterday and wearing “real people shoes” (my doctor’s words, not mine) again for the first time in 2 months is absolutely amazing!

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