Learning how to focus and direct your thoughts is the key to accomplishing your goals.
Among my many hobbies I am a road cyclist. I love the scenery, the smells, the exhilaration at the end of a long climb, the tired feeling in my legs after a long ride. I have completed multiple centuries along with many rides that varied in length. The one thing every ride has in common whether it is a hill ride, sprint ride, long distance ride etc, is the mental willpower to keep those pedals moving through thousands and thousands of pedal strokes. Combine the tiredness in your legs with the imprint that the saddle has left on your rear-end and the dirt and grime that cover your face and body and you have an average ride of a cyclist. Fun right? I and thousands of others would unanimously say yes! The one thing that a cyclist will tell you however that is crucial to any ride is their mental endurance as well as their physical capabilities. When I was riding in the Shasta Summit Century, the only thing that kept me going up the last 14 mile climb was complete willpower. My body was done, it had been done since the last mountain that I climbed at mile 70; but my mind was not. I knew that I had to continue going, I had to keep pushing those pedals around and around for over 2 hours to get up to the top. I knew that once I was at the top the exhilaration, the feeling of “look at what I just accomplished” was worth any amount of pain and suffering I had to go through to get there. That is what the mental component of fitness/training is all about; realizing that while it may suck a lot or a little at the time, the end rewards are worth the suffering.
I therefore offer you a suggestion. The next time you are working out your body at the gym or on the trail, start mentally training yourself as well. When things get rough, or you feel like you can’t go further, push a little more, do one more push-up or add 30 more seconds onto that killer run you’re doing. Start to train in a way that incorporates the mental challenge as well as the physical so that the next time you are in a competition, a spin class or even just working out by yourself or with friends so that you can push yourself farther, faster and stronger than you have ever been able to do before.
Remember, if you control the mental you control the physical.