2XU Athlete, Lesley Paterson, on Mental Toughness

2XU Athlete, Lesley Paterson, on Mental Toughness

There is an often-quoted mantra within triathlon that it’s a mental sport as much as physical one. While there is a lot of truth in that – although if you haven’t done your physical training no amount of mind-bending skills are going to get you over most finish lines – the mental-physical interdependence is not reserved just for the race itself.

Mental fortitude is just as important in training as in a race, especially at the end of a tough block of consecutive days of physical torture or, for example, a three-week schedule of increasingly demanding daily sessions. It’s no secret that, at the end of a tough block of training, it gets harder and harder to stay motivated.

The key to completing a training session, or multi-week training block, when you are physically drained and finding it tough to continue, is to focus on your immediate training demands and let the end game take care of itself. Every step counts so it is important to “stay present” and not to just zone out. You have to live in the moment, even when you’re tired.

Think of each training session as a stepping-stone. However, to reach your triathlon or fitness goals you have to complete all the stepping- stones on the way, in the correct order. So focus on completing them one at a time, step-by-step. If you do complete them, you’ll reach your eventual goals. If you don’t complete each step, each training session, the chances of reaching your triathlon goals diminish.

So when things get physically tough and motivation becomes increasingly hard to find, focus on the immediate session, and take care of your next few minutes of training, and don’t think that you still have days of difficult punishment still to go. Focus on the short-term, and have faith in the power and benefits of a well-put-together training schedule.


By Lesley Paterson

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