Mental Conditioning Inside a Tough Workout

Your battling out those last few feet of distance with a stone on your shoulder. You can see the finish line but all is blurry around you and your wobbling. Tunnel vision with soft fluffy edges.

You mind begins to drift and wander. You tell yourself to push but the pain is unbearable and your think your going to crumble like a shattered statue. Your mind flashes images of your last month of training – that it was weak and how you are not strong on events like these. You think that you hate the stone and your legs are cramping. You slowly fall apart mentally as you wobble and drop the stone for a 5 second penalty. You watch as other athletes pass you with the stone and pass the finish line.

What happened? You actually had worked hard that last month. But you doubted yourself from the start. You were intimidated by the other elite athletes but thought you were at least as good. You vow to never let this happen again. You had heard that a great athlete uses every event to become better at the finish than when they started. That would be your mission to get better for the next event.

So you start from the beginning and write down your mental miscues. You take each one of those and rewrite your brain to now put in place a positive thought – an affirmation to drive out the self doubt and negative that can overcome you in an event. You vow to learn and correct.

They say that a mistake is not mistake if you learn. This is what you will do. You will take those mistakes and correct them and use them to your advantage the next time. Your goal is to be a better athlete at end of day than when you started.

So I go to work and practice my affirmations and get prepared for my next tough WOD. I read and re-read the article Mental Preparedness for Tough Workouts.

I am prepared and a warrior and ready to do battle. If anything fails – it will be my body as my mind is now a steel trap. It was forged in the Iron Box – many years ago in the bottom of an old Navy ship in the Pacific Ocean. It is there that I learned to overcome pain and fear and sorrow and disappointment. To never quit. I am now ready for anything at anytime.

Want to learn more about mental preparedness? – Audio Download

I enter the Garage Games and prepare for WOD 1. 40 dead lifts to a 5k trail run.

My affirmations. Mental strength-mental power. Only you can push you. Finish strong- warrior strong. I say these repeatedly with out space to keep negative out. My lungs were on fire and I began to get an asthma wheeze. I drove myself harder even though younger athletes pass me.

I rewarded myself mentally at the half way point and told myself good job and mentally patted myself on the back. In the last quarter of the race I reminded myself that this event and workout was a gift and I would be a better athlete and warrior at the end of the day. I remarked on the beauty of the event as I ran through mud and sludge. The beauty of the battle and struggle. I ended up 16th out of a field of 62 with many in their 20’s and 30’s. I am almost 48.

WOD 4 is 21-15-9 Ground to overhead and burpees. The WOD is similar to Fran. I love Fran. So I used “Fran” as my affirmation for most of WOD. In the last round I said “every second counts”. My affirmations worked as I ended up with 6 minute plus time.

Everyone said how bad this WOD sucked. The referee said it was brutal. I told him I like brutal and love burpees. I wanted to be there and did not want to be intimidated.

As the first round starts I get in a groove. I mentally rewarded myself at each round – “atta boy”. I could feel the sun on my back despite the cold. I drew power from the sun and cold and remarked on the beauty of the workout and how it was a gift to make me stronger.

Realizing the beauty of the WOD is important in that you get tired in the middle to end of WOD. So this thought drives out you wanting to think the WOD sucks.

You have to “Embrace the Suck”

I saw an athletes shirt. It said “Unbroken”. Unbroken reps. Unbroken spirit. Whole. Complete.

Between wods I rest on a blanket in the sun. I say affirmations to not let negative thoughts creep in. You have to guard here as your tired

Before the next WOD I walked around the field and told myself I am strong, warrior strong.

I relaxed before the WOD and bowed my head sitting on the rower and relaxed.

During the WOD I went full out and told myself I am strong, warrior strong. I finished strong, no injuries and left it all on the field.

I remembered the t shirt – Unbroken

All was finished. I am heading home. I felt like my mind gave it 100%. I felt good with my effort. I ask myself – Are you now a better athlete for this effort? What did you learn? Did you give it your all? What will you work to improve?

I know I have work to do. I know the road will be hard. I know that I will always embrace the suck as that will make me a better athlete. I will remain – Unbroken.

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