Training for a race begins with challenging your body. Every run strengthens your physical endurance, preparing you for the big day. But what about your mind? You’ve heard it before: your mind is a muscle—and that means you should train it for race day, too.
Races are full of difficult moments where you might feel like giving up. With the right mental tricks, and a little practice using them, you’ll be able to rev yourself up and make it across the finish line.
We asked Human Performance and Mindfulness Coach, Chevy Rough, for his top mental training tips. Chevy has dedicated his career to helping people change their approach to training, with a focus on integrating fitness into a holistic approach to making life changes.
Before Your Run
Cool Your Brain
Before warming up for a run, lie down and focus on breathing through your nose as you would during a workout. Use this rhythm to keep your mind from wandering. Work on slowing your breathing down with each breath—this will calm your mind and body to perform its best during a run.
Visualise Your Run
Imagine yourself running. Try to include as many details as possible (sights, smells, sounds). Now envision your body starting to tire. To counteract this, begin to pick yourself up again. Your breathing is light and your posture corrects itself. Running is now effortless to you and your mind responds to this. Recreate success within this exercise and your mind will have a point of reference when it’s out on the road.
During Your Run
Run With Focus
Regulate nose-breathing only. It promotes calmness and focus. Find and commit to a breathing rhythm that you can focus on when your mind starts to stray.
Like anything, mind-strengthening takes time and effort, but stick with it! Mental toughness will not only be beneficial for race training, but you’ll find it useful when challenges in your life arise.
The ASICS blackout track
In 2018, ASICS developed the world’s first running track to train the mind: a custom-built 150-metre course in London, England, cloaked in darkness with no tech, no music, no scenery, no comforts and no finish line. The ASICS Blackout Track was developed in collaboration with sports scientists and top coaches to remove all distractions and encourage runners to truly focus on synchronising the mind and body, something ASICS believes is crucial to enable optimal performance.
Remember, it’s not the strongest legs that win the race—it’s the strongest mind. Happy training!