Fight Fatigue Like a World Champion
It’s every racer’s worst nightmare: You’re running or biking at a decent clip when your pace starts to slow. First a little—then a lot. People start to pass. And then, just when you think you've reached your lower limit, your legs turn to sandbags and your brain melts into a pessimistic pool of self-doubt. You’ve hit the dreaded wall.
Having a solid nutrition plan goes a long way towards fending off fatigue, but your brain may play just as big a role. Here, four-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington tells us how she trains her mind just as much as her body.
- Prior to a race I visualize myself as strong, successful, confident, and powerful.
- I have a personal mantra that I repeat over and over and over again. It’s “Never ever give up” and a smile. I write it on my wristband, I write it on my water bottle, I write it everywhere. And that gives me a mental boost.
- I also carry with me a dog-eared copy of Rudyard Kipling’s “If.” For me, it encapsulates everything that it takes to be a good person and reminds me of all the qualities I need to be able to succeed.
- I think it’s important to learn to hurt a little bit in training. And that doesn’t necessarily mean annihilating yourself every session, but it’s this continual, sophisticated process of refinement whereby you test your limits. Then when you race you’ve given yourself the confidence that you can always overcome pain and discomfort because you’ve already done it in training.
- Music is a really important motivational tool. I have songs that I play in my head.
- I break the race down into manageable segments, which makes a huge goal feel slightly less intimidating. So for me, the marathon isn’t 42.2 kilometers, it’s four times 10-K.
- I race for a cause that’s bigger than me and draw heavily on thoughts of those who have overcome adversity to give me a physical and mental boost. I dedicate the last few miles to those people and those causes that I care about.
To see what else Wellington told us (in person…while we stared at her in awe), click here to read the full interview.
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