Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like exercise can be a chore. (Picture every single Gixo coach raising a hand right now.) We get it. Really. But we all happen to know, results are the gift for those who persist. And the key to getting through those days where you feel like giving up? It’s establishing mental toughness.
If you keep these four strategies in mind this week, you’ll come away from your workouts, not only physically stronger but mentally stronger.
Breathe In. Breathe Out. Repeat.
Did you know breathing is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to running? To most effectively get through a challenging run — or portion of a run — it helps to establish a rhythm of breathing. Try a 2:2 (breath:step) or a 3:2 schema. The more you pay attention to your breath, the better you will perform (in anything, actually). Taking deep diaphragmatic breaths (that’s fancy talk for breathing through your belly) gets oxygen to your muscles better than shallow chest breathing.
Meditation and Visualization
The practice of meditation, where you focus in on the breath — always trying to maintain breath-awareness — is a great relaxation tool. Being able to relax is key to building mental toughness. When a distracting thought arises, we can refocus on the breath to minimize “thought detours.” Starting with as little as two to five minutes of meditation and, chances are, you’ll find it’s simpler — and more beneficial — than you might think.
Have you ever heard of elite athletes who visualize a big game to stay motivated and hyped up? You can do it too. Visualize your run — what is your route? What will your stride look like today? Why are you running? By spending five minutes prior to your run thinking through it in your head, you can picture — and create — success for yourself in your running goals.
Positivity is another key factor of mental toughness. It can be easy to feel bogged down by the negatives in life. Be it soreness from a workout, or getting cut off in traffic, brewing negative thoughts can lead you into a downward spiral. Science has proven that focusing on the positive can actually change your mood. So why not try it — whatever situation you find yourself in.
Remember the S.M.A.R.T. method of goal setting. Set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time Bound. Your goals will help you stay disciplined and accountable. They’ll serve as a blueprint to your success and give you something to lean on when the going gets tough.
We see you. And we like what we see. So keep leaning on your Gixo coaches in class, centering yourself, and crushing those runs!