Time to dig deep or is it a blow up? (Read 217 times)

    Didn't Pre win an NCAA Championship race with a badly cut foot?  I think that is more mental toughness than conditioning.

      But wasn't Pre also the most talented / best conditioned runner of his generation with or without stitches in his foot?

      Runners run.




        But I also don't think mental toughness is overrated. After 10 years, lots of marathons and ultras, I have plenty of confidence. But on the toughness front I'm not sure I have made much progress since my first year, and I think toughness does have a pretty direct bearing on race results.



        Hmmm..... I've had the opposite experience.


        For the races where I've had to mentally "be tough", those have been my worst performances.  At the races where I've performed the best (higher than usual placement, beating the people I normally run with), no toughness has been necessary.  I sailed into the finish feeling awesome.


        Still think the OP just started too fast, though.


          Mental toughness is very important. Probably as (or more) important in training as in racing, but very important in racing. It's hard to describe but I know it when I experience it. There are some runners that I know are mentally tough--if I find myself toe to toe with them late in a race I know I'm in for a battle. There are others that you just know will crack--all you have to do is wait for them to start to panic and then finish them off. Most people fall somewhere in the middle and will have good days when they're able to calm the demons and push through to a new level and bad days when they are not.


          I agree with Jeff that much of it comes down to learning how to relax and maintain composure when things get really tough.

          Runners run.


            Mental toughness is most vital to the adequately trained smart racer.  If you hit the line inadequately / under trained, overestimate your fitness, or your pacing is sloppy, all the mental toughness in the world will not get you the desired result.



              I think the another point in this discussion is that just because you "blow up" does not mean you are mentally weak, especially if you are new to the sport.


              Also, I'm curious:  does mental toughness transfer between disciplines?    For example, many on this board work in fields that require crucial, high-stakes decisions under extremely high stress conditions.  Some of those jobs also involve making these decisions under significant physical duress.


              Do you feel that experience in your day job helps you learn to deal with tough situations during distance running?

                I think we're talking semantics.  The ability to keep running hard when your body wants to quit can be a couple of things.  If your body really is not adequately trained, toughness isn't going to compensate - it won't make muscles do what they are unable to do.  If it's more of a mental struggle, in which part of you is saying you've given enough, and the other part is saying come on, it's only painful for a little while longer, sure, that toughness is worthwhile.  I'm saying that kind of toughness is really based on confidence borne out of good training.

                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


                  Your long runs seem to be a large percentage of your weekly mileage. Are you following a specific training plan?