6 Ways To Build Mental Toughness

Our Role Mothers have consistently shown us grace, inspiration, and strength on the road and the race course, and now we're asking about mental toughness. It means something different to everyone, from the tenacity to make it through difficult miles to turning running a lifetime commitment. Here, they offer up their takes. Add your own down below!


Nicole, the regular runner
When I don't want to get out and run, I tell myself the first mile is always the toughest. So I tell myself, “Just get through Mile One and done.” The “catch” is that after the first mile you’ve found your groove and will just keep going. If it’s truly, truly horrible, you have to run back home, so at least you’ll have TWO miles under your belt.

Melissa, the marathoner
On mile 25, I'm thinking, Sweet mother of God, Mary, Joseph, and whoever else is currently keeping me upright, just exactly how long is 1 POINT 2 miles anyway? Please mirage of a finish line, come closer!!

Ashley, the beginner
I’ve played volleyball and softball multiple nights during the week for years, but neither pushes my body to continuously work like running has. I have never run a single race, not even a 5K, but I am determined to train my butt off to run a half-marathon in 2016!

Pam, the grandmother
In 2006, my rheumatologist told me I also had fibromyalgia. But I kept walking and logged a little over 400 miles the following year. In 2009, I logged almost 1,400 miles.

Sarah, the triathlete
When working out starts to feel like work, I call a BRF (or, in my case, a BTF--Best Training Friend) and meet up for a run, bike, or swim. Surrounding myself with strong, ambitious athletes is all the motivation I need!

Tania, the sputterer
I keep going because every time I finish a race I feel: Awesome. Accomplished. Proud. Amazing. Like a rock star. And hungry.

6 responses to “6 Ways To Build Mental Toughness

  1. Good job ladies! My wife and a stay at home mother of our 3 kids under 4 is looking into doing something like this. Although most of her life she spent in competitive swimming, mental toughness that she has mastered, has helped her much with being a great mother.

  2. I’m not old. I’m just not 25 anymore. The first mile is a “gimme”. That is, the first mile is the one that I promise myself that I won’t berate myself for being “not 25”, for allowing my bones, tendons and ligaments to warm up at the rate they are supposed to, to allow my heart rate to regulate itself at a healthy timespan. My kids laugh at me because they smoke me in the first two miles of any 10k. BUT. I ALWAYS catch and pass them. Always. Even my 10k at the end of an Olympic tri is faster than their 10k times. They don’t quite get it but that’s okay. They will in time. And in my time, I’ll continue to give myself the first mile, knowing that I’ll feel and be so strong at then end of my run, I know I listen to my body and protect it. I’m going to need it for a while yet. 🙂

  3. I always run early in the am… 5:15 or 5:30~ So I get fired up by laying the whole outfit out the night before. I also drink some coffee to get me ready to roll!! But, mostly my mental tough comes from the running group that I run with almost everyday!! Thank you Early Birds at the MAC Club!

  4. For me, it’s the weather that might be the factor in running but knowing that I just might see the heron on the river or the deer on the trail pushes me out the door. I’ve been lucky enough to be a lifetime runner.

  5. Sometimes getting dressed is half the battle. If I get my running clothes on, usually I find myself heading out the door to put them to use. And when I’m wanting to quit during a run I go through a mental checklist: are you injured? Sick? Or just tired? Because you can run through tired.

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