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Endurance Mindset

by Renae Cobley 2 years ago in success
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It is crucial athletes prepare their mind for the inevitable mental challenges.

Consistency with your physical training is a critical component. However, often overlooked is the preparation of your mindset - Our minds so often disrupt the physical side of things, adequately failing to optimise the use of our athletic ability, talent and hard work. All of us know that endurance athletes perform best with a relaxed, focused and calm state of mind. Leading to an optimal physiological state. All of us can develop our skills to become more complete ultra-runners. A good race is never a fluke, and every runner should believe wholeheartedly in the power of magical thinking. So much so, that the depth of your thinking, self-motivation and the vision matters greatly. that success is achievable no matter what.

I believe 100% the mind can close any gap; there is nothing more potent than a healthy mindset. Unfortunately, humans utilise less than ten percent of their mental potential. At our fingertips, we have this untapped and limitless resource, our “mindset”. It is crucial athletes prepare their mind for the inevitable mental challenges they will face. Ultra-running is a tough sport, a long journey, it’s painful, and it requires you to dig deep. Ultra-running has a significantly high dropout rate, higher than most other sports. Know you can exceed your ability beyond expectation with preparation of your mindset, discipline and commitment. The question is do you prepare your mind equally to that of your excruciating physical regime? Sometimes the body is fit enough to compete and run, but the mind is not ready. To have a winner’s mindset you ultimately get what you want; to have the desire and intention to succeed.

Any dream and goal require a tremendous act of will, self-efficacy, confidence, intention and support by others. The question I pose, how sound pressure proofed are you? Do you have a clear sense of purpose? How big is your “Why”? Athletes that can go a long way and have success have acquired the ability of mental preparation. Learnt to harness the most powerful invisible force they have. Exude tremendous trust, faith and control within self. All winners begin by fantasising their script, knowing whatever they feed grows and know they can determine the next best chapter. People can either dare to dream of mediocrity or to conquer a great feat; you get to write each chapter. “You are either the captain or the captive of your thoughts” Dennis Waitley. A human’s inner dialogue can influence and change their brain chemistry. We all create maps of reality. Your internal map of reality is a blueprint your mind uses to organise your life and your success.

Athletes are often so afraid to fail. Failing to increase their threshold to a tolerance of discomfort and real risks not seldom taken. Dreams you conceive as being passionate about is worth sacrificing everything. Honour your passion for setting yourself bigger goals. All athletes have a point where they decide if they will back down or endure and dial up the effort. Those in this game who succeed, have blended the mental aptitude necessary for success into their physical training program, in the pursuit of excellence. Seeking success is one thing; achieving it is another. Success must be lived and breathed in every aspect of your life.

There is no single formula for success. There is no one ideal approach. There is no guarantee once caught in pursuit; one can gracefully maintain its hold. Hence why mindset is of incredible importance to those prevailing to be a champion. A well-adjusted mindset can greatly instil many great qualities in providing an optimal athlete performance. There is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it. Knowing comes internally, not externally. The more an athlete can tap into this experience, the more relaxed and focused they become. Allowing them not to control but allowing things to happen and do what needs to happen. A healthy mindset will enable you to remain in the present moment only, to feel and engage with more power than you had ever felt before and allowing your body to take the reigns — this better known state being termed being in the ‘zone’ or the ‘flow’ state. Without the correct mindset, an excellent performance becomes difficult as the mind and body are so interconnected. Everybody you race has a weakness and the most significant gap I see is there mindset. People self-destruct off their own merits, have a reason to back down. How an athlete continues to function is based on their analysis of their own thoughts.

To have the guidance, accountability and depth of a coaching relationship truly aligns an athlete with success. A mindset coach allows you to prepare and think with a champion mindset. A strong mindset is how you become stronger in mind and body. These monumental moments when the mind and body work together effortlessly. To be a successful ultra-athlete and to sustain long term success as an athlete, you need an incredibly positive mental attitude. A crucial component is to look at your strengths and weaknesses. It isn’t all about logging miles, concerning one's self with placing and times. Every athlete must face reality and become self-aware of their shortcomings as the truth sets athletes free. Nothing holds an athlete back more than their insecurities. Focusing on a healthy mindset can increase your self-awareness, to have fewer negative thoughts, alleviate anxiety and stress and significantly improve your behavioural control. Self-confidence is among the most critical predictors of ultra-performance. Trust in your body, strength and fierceness this gift in sport resides inside us and not outside. An invisible force of spirit lives in us all, waiting to be unleashed. So, few athletes grasp the importance of what a strong vision encapsulates.

An athlete’s body has a high capacity to produce its own pain killer, to react to and absorb pain. Pain moves us all and comfort keeps us still. Enduring and welcoming pain is arguably another critical trait of a world class athlete. I instruct athletes when becoming uncomfortable never to avoid the discomfort but to become one and aligned with it. Recognising its depth, refusing to succumb to its hold, relaxing and reframing pain as an emotion. Any fear in following through with managing your pain is poor management of the mind. Athletes must seek out significant challenges as opposed to preventing them. I dial up and turn on athlete’s mindset to execute and take that leap of faith and alter your limits.

Both pain and pleasure are two highly connected emotions. Most people are motivated by the desire to seek comfort. Athletes must be willing to see what they can absorb. Ultimately as humans, we conquer what we are only able to withstand. The more adapted we become as humans to stressors, negativity and setbacks than we start to thrive. Stress is about change and adaptation to thrive under pressure, stay present and focused. Real success requires struggles. Being unwilling to struggle, you will not grow. All of us have an inner superhero that can be unleashed. Working on your mindset allows that inner hero always to have a presence and get out of your way. I observe many ultra-runners struggle to continue to be strong, the word “strength” seeming this elusive, intangible part of the self. These are the moments you need and must maintain belief, faith, courage, resilience, ability to block distractions, openness and vision to tackle such challenges and beat the odds. To continue to show up and refuse to quit. By facilitating these enduring obstacles, taking risks and levelling up to pain, it retrains the mind and pushes out our brain’s central governor. Remember you never get what you wish for; you get what you work for. To find this inner hero it takes everything you got, we all have what it takes with correct mental training. The ability to push through these blocks, heightening your motivation and belief in self.

Athletes all experience the emotional roller-coaster, exposing themselves often as in a constant state of running that red line, low on fuel. Athletes should seek to challenge their mindset and belief systems, to make this level of work ethic a non-negotiable. Athletes to realise that they are capable beyond measure. Most athletes run on automatic, not even knowing how many gears they have. Never consciously working on gear changes. The challenging component is athletes been able to separate their emotions from each shift. The mind can do anything you set out for it to do. It’s not only about what’s in your external environment, everything has a beginning from inside self. Humans, to use an analogy are no different from a car. The engine concealed under the bonnet. Many athletes having a V8 engine. However, few fail to take the services that allow the driver to work to full potential. Servicing, otherwise known as mindset preparation, is particularly most important to athletes embarking on a long journey. Therefore, applicable to all ultra-runners. I transform an athlete to alter their inner attitude of the mind, which will reflect in their physical outer lives tremendously – the body to their engine. The mind is a powerful thing; you must train your mind like you train your body.

To train most productively and race one must do with consistency and injecting ongoing hard work. In following your true passion being guided by your heart and mind. Sport and life outside are to be enjoyed, embraced and be a unique spiritual journey. To self-discover and know oneself. Unlock your capacity of strength, energy, satisfaction and openness to challenges. Don’t overanalyse by overthinking, falling victim to mental fatigue and seldom tapering the mind for rest and recovery.

I embark athletes on a mind, body and spiritual journey. As competition exposes our mental, psychological and emotional inner beings. Learning to relax, focus and centre oneself is vital, both at rest and at speed. All athletes have the internal resources to tap into a channel of energy that allows that stellar performance to be produced. Visualisation is strongly encouraged and reinforced. As the subconsciousness mind can send sabotaging messages to your body when training and competing. Visualising is paramount; if you can see it in your mind's eye, you can make it happen. The brain does not know the difference between what we think and what we experience. The brain is entirely unaware as to whether the activity is real or imagined. People don’t know what their minds can do until you test its limits.

There are a certain mindset and behavioural flexibility traits and skill sets that allows success.

- Entirely absorbed in the present moment and activity

- Laser focused (Focus only on what one can control) and fine tune – arousal control - tuned in to the moment – intense concentration

- Self-aware, self-confident and relaxed – no fear or anxiety – induce calming effect

- Moving with your instincts – the anticipation of next correct move

- Positive and optimistic – feeling invincible – enhance motivation - moving with ease - smile – fun/joyful

- Create effective practice habits/routines – improve performance consistency

- Preparation of race strategy – visualising process

Quitting is a dangerous thing to do because it can quickly become a habit. Keep following your dreams; very few things are impossible to achieve. If the desire is deep enough, you will get it done. Never be fearful of developing and discovering your path. Maintain regularity, consistency, patience and determination. My role as a mindset coach is to support people to harness all their mental and emotional resources to compete at their highest potential. So often we uncover as a team an incredible greatness in ability. Developing a deeply committed relationship. My secret weapon as a coach is unwavering faith in the human potential; I believe in outcomes most dare to dream off. I get an athlete to stand behind their goal without any explanation. I train people on overriding their innate instincts to want to stop, feeling that immense struggle to continue and to take their foot of the accelerator. I help athletes find new gears to shift higher to a greater performance. I assist people to execute what they say they want to achieve. I become people’s cheerleader to nail the process and the outcome they desire. “Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart and nourish your soul” Unknown.

success

About the author

Renae Cobley

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