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  • Writer's pictureBen Davie

6 ways for runners to build mental resilience


When it comes to running, for me, it is just as much a mental game as it is physical. Below I have outlined 5 of my top tips for all runners to improve mental fitness:


  1. Run somewhere that inspires you. Give yourself an opportunity to run somewhere that is different. Running is about a sense of adventure and sometimes this sense of adventure can be lacking if you just run the same route. Mixing up your routes will stimulate your mind more than the monotonous routes. Having said this, running a 'boring, monotonous' route - perhaps a repetitive loop or an 'out and back' run can help to build mental resilience!

  2. Set little goals on route. Acknowledge all of your mini wins. This is crucial to build confidence and a positive feeling along the run. So often we focus on the big number - the race that is months away or completing a 30 minute run when we are 30 seconds in. This is often a way to demotivate and sap enjoyment from running. Instead, break your run up into 'Non-Scale Victories/ Mini Wins'. For example, give yourself some kudos for lacing up and getting started, completing the warm up.

  3. Positive self talk. Challenge any your internal dialogue. Actively notice if its positive and upbeat or gloomy/negative. If the latter - work to change this. Instead of 'I am slow' or 'I will never be a ''runner''. Tweak this to 'I am running, I am powerful' or 'I am very proud of myself for completing x section of the run'. This is all about practice - the more you practice positive self talk, the better you will be when the going gets tough on the road. The mind is a very powerful tool that you can actively work to utilise to your advantage.

  4. Run into tough situations.. Do you find running uphill really challenging? Go out and practice hill repeats - this will be a hard session but over time you will build efficiency and most importantly mental resilience to run. The same can be said for running into a headwind or running in the rain. Once you get through these runs, your always a little bit stronger mentally and physically!

  5. Celebrate a win every time you run. Give credit where credit is due - lets face it, running is hard. So acknowledge a win, EVERY time you run. Actively work to finish the run on a positive note. After your run - perhaps your walking home - think of something that you won. For example, running easy. Being in control of your heart rate and breathing all of the way around because you stripped the pace right back and did not chase the time. That's a win!


Put the above tips into practice and build your mental fitness game!


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