How Can Pro-Runners’ Mental Training Help Us Thrive in Quarantine?

mental training

If you’ve ever trained for an endurance race, come back from a serious injury, or competed at a high level of racing, you know that running is just as much mental as it is physical.

In order to stay in the best shape possible, you need to address your mental training in addition to your physical training, especially during quarantine and social isolation when motivation may be running low.

If you’re unsure how to mentally train, keep reading!

The article below describes different methods of mental training that you can use during quarantine and beyond.

Mental Training

You’re willing to spend hours running and hours in the gym or cross-training to get your body in peak condition to compete. Why aren’t you willing to devote the same amount of time to your mental training?

Some of the greatest athletes in the world experience success not because of their genetics or a specific diet, but because they have the mental fortitude and toughness to overcome any situation.

You can harness this ability too if you are willing to try some mental training as well. Here are three of the top strategies professional runners and endurance athletes have used to train their brain.

1. Visualization

Visualization is a sport’s psychology strategy that involves envisioning your own success. At a basic level, it involves visualizing what your success looks like, how it makes you feel.

During this process, you take time to envision every detail of your surroundings and competition as you walk through the steps to your success.

In order to use this strategy properly, it requires repeated practice, so that eventually this vision of success is programmed into your subconscious. While in social isolation, take the opportunity to spend a few minutes every day visualizing your successful training and competition.

For more information on visualization, check out this article.

2. Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is another tool used by athletes to promote positivity even during unknown, or volatile situations – much like the one we find ourselves in now. 

Cognitive restructuring is the process of taking a negative thought or defeatist mentality and changing it to a more positive one. It involves identifying those negative thoughts that may be impacting your outlook on training or performance and rehearsing positive self-talk instead.

Much like visualization strategies, practicing cognitive restructuring as a form of mental training takes practice and commitment. 

3. Goal Setting

As a runner, you likely have one or more goals set for yourself at all times. Maybe you are gearing up to run a personal best at the New York City Marathon or want to finish your first ultramarathon, but either way you are working toward a goal.

A key to staying mentally tough is to consistently set new, challenging (but achievable) goals. Training mentally also involves setting long term and short term goals and staying accountable for those goals.

Try writing down your biggest goal and then breaking it down further into 3 smaller goals and 3 smaller goals for each of those, etc. Once you have sufficiently broken down your goal you can better focus your efforts.

Time to Train

Now that you have a few additional mental training tips in your arsenal, give them a try! Don’t underestimate the power of mental toughness.

If you’re looking for more running advice, check out some of our blogs!