How to Train Your Mind for Endurance
They say that before your body can do something, your mind has to do it first. If you do not believe in something mentally, then - physically - you will not be able to do it 99% of the time. Thus, a proper mindset is very important for maximising your physical performance. “For endurance training, the mental side plays a very important role too. Often in extreme endurance events, a participant’s body goes through extreme wear and tear, and things like blisters, skin tearing, total exhaustion, etc are quite common. In these moments, it is through sheer mental strength that a participant pushes through and finishes what he or she has started”, informs HealthMeUp.com's strength and conditioning coach Arnav Sarkar.
Of course, one needs to focus on building endurance gradually, since your mind can only take you so far before your body really cannot operate anymore. It is in these months/years that you spend preparing for an event that you have to start preparing mentally to do well during the actual event. "In my experience, the best way to mentally approach an endurance event is to break the event down to small parts and focus on one small part at a time. For eg, if you are to run 10km, then instead of focusing on 10 km at one time, take it 1km at a time. Once you finish one, again begin mentally for another km. This way your mind gets a chance to “refresh”, and be able to keep pushing," says Arnav.
Staying in all the time
If you need to be mentally prepared, you need to be involved all the time. This will not only stretch your mind but also keep it sharp.
A Fit Mind
With new things, the human mind learns to stay strong and perform better, because different challenges make your brain act differently every time. Combine fun with learning by reading often and playing a variety of different games. Regular exercise and fitness activities will strengthen your mental capacity.
Reinforcing Mental Function
Developing the right skills to help your mind stay sharp and promote stronger thinking and concentration is also important for good mental functioning. One need to identify things that distract you and then create an environment that keeps those thoughts away so it doesn’t harm your performance.
Above all, an endurance event is a mental and physical test.
While the body's physical performance can be measured, quantified and improved through tangible methods, the mind's astute adherance to survival mode takes true grit. This grit comes with practise, self-motivation and very high levels of self-efficacy. You have to believe in your capacity to achieve the goal.
Often, endurance events are designed to create mental blocks.
A ditch jump, or monkey bar obstacle over a drop are all physical fetes that may make you stop because you 'think' you can't cross the barrier, when in truth the length of that jump or monkey bar climb could be something you've practised hundreds of times earlier. Maintaining resolve is the backbone to truly achieving mental strength for endurance sports.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images