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Mental Toughness and Ultrarunning

In ultra running, the mental game is a HUGE factor in your success. Sure, you need the physical training and grit to carry you through the miles, but at some point, the mental aspect becomes all-consuming. And it 100% can make or break your race.

I get asked a lot how to train for mental toughness in endurance sports.

Here are some ways I handle it:

1. Remember your “why.” Always come back to your why in moments of exhaustion.

2. Embrace the pain. Seriously. It’s gonna hurt. Be ready for it and and tell yourself you LIKE the pain. You want more of it. That it helps you feel alive. Pain (and I’m not talking about a true injury, here, folks) is a part of endurance. Make friends with it.

3. Be grateful. There are people—and maybe someday even ourselves—who cannot participate in endurance sports. What a gift to use your body to do the things you love.

4. Draw strength from the challenges you’ve overcome in your life. This one is huge for me. Running an ultra is a walk in the park compared to some things I’ve survived in my life. I draw on those moments of strength and survival to remind me what I’m capable of.

5. Use mantras to keep your mind focused. These can be so useful to carry you through the darkest moments. I use them every single race.

I’ll share more about my own mantras and sources of mental strength in another post. But for now…tell me how you build mental toughness!

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