alsoran runners Mental Strength

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On Comrades day, mental strength probably accounts for at least 75% of your run.  Yes you are fit and you are well trained, but can you put it all together and be successful?  Only if your mental strength is up to scratch!  Mental strength is a combination of focus, goody bag stuff, belief, knowledge, experience and visualisation all rolled into one. 

How do you achieve mental strength?  Well it doesn’t come easy that’s for sure!  Mental strength is gained by spending time on your legs, by running through the heat, the rain, the pain.  It is achieved by dealing with unexpected circumstances that may occur during your runs. 

There are other ways to work on your mental strength.  An example:  I used to be the Marks Administrator/ Exams Auditor in the department I worked for at the University of Cape Town.  At times I would be stuck with a batch of examination scripts which I would have to go through on an individual basis, checking each and every answer and ensuring that each question had been marked (firstly), points allocated correctly (secondly) and total mark for the paper correctly calculated (thirdly).  Now imagine having to do that for about 160 scripts (per subject).  It can be quite mind blowing!  I used to use this work exercise as a Comrades mental strength exercise.  I would tackle one script at a time, realising that I couldn't check it any quicker than I was without doing a poor job, or checking it any slower than I was without actually stopping.  As I went along from script to script I would think about what I was doing and recognise what and how I was feeling as I went along.  This action may be totally unrelated to running but I was able to use the exercise as one of patience and perseverance and I felt mentally stronger for doing it!  Whether running or exam checking, it's about realising that there are no short cuts!  Does this make any sense to you?

Key words: mental strength, Comrades, running
Internal links: Comrades, goody bag, focus, knowledge is power
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008