5 Cs of Mental Toughness



We all know that most anything in life is really more about what goes on in our head, not our body. The head can override the body — for good or bad.

I’m sharing five tips from the book “Mind Gym” (Amazon affiliate link here) to help you with your mental toughness.


I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing 5 ways to work on your mental game — whether you’re returning to racing — or not!

1: Confident

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right!

In other words, believe in yourself, your capabilities, and your training

overgrown trees from window with drops in rainy weather
You can’t control the weather so just go with the flow | Photo by Sam Willis on Pexels.com

2: Control
Focus on what you can control:

  • Your thoughts
  • Your fueling
  • Your hydrating

Let go of what you can’t control:

  • The course
  • The weather
  • The people around you

Just don’t give any energy to the things you can’t control, pour it all into what you can control

3: Courage
It’s so easy to give into our inner critic:

It’s too hilly. It’s too hot, cold, windy, rainy. I may as well just give up, I’m never going to hit my goal anyway.

There are very few races — if any — that go completely our way. There’s almost always something we have to overcome. That takes courage.

I remember more than one race where I thought I had run too slow to ever meet my goal, only to realize towards the end that I still could — if I dug deep and had courage.

In other words:

Never give up

4: Consistent
This one is about training, not actual racing — but it’s important. I think it’s one of my superpowers, and I’ve always said that if I’m going to race, I’m going to train for it. Not because of PRs (although that’s nice, of course), but because it actually gives me that confidence, knowing that I have shown up, and done the work. Knowing that my body is prepared to race and therefore much less likely to get injured.

people running during daytime
You can see the competitiveness on their faces | Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5: Competitive
You don’t have to be an elite athlete — or even a fast runner — to use competitiveness to your advantage. Even if  you’re DFL (dead frickin’ last). All you need is a rabbit to chase. I know I often do better when I’m chasing a runner who is just a little faster than I am!

Final Thoughts
You don’t have to be trying for a certain time, a PR, or qualifying for a race to put the 5 Cs into play. Even if the race is more about fun than racing, I promise you, you’re going to have a better experience if you work on the 5 Cs!

How is your mental game these days?

Which of the 5 Cs do you need to work on? Letting go of the things I can’t control for me

Can you think of any Cs to add to this list?

24 thoughts on “5 Cs of Mental Toughness

  1. These are great, especially as we start to return to racing. I think virtual races have challenged me in a different way so Im not sure how I will do when I run a real race again. I agree that its a good idea to train so you have that confidence going into a race. I learned that lesson with me last virtual race!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually think I have these. Although I can always get better.

    To me being consistent is not training but just getting out there four times a week even if the weather sucks or I feel like crap. Running always improves my day.

    I’m pretty courageous. I just ran up a mountain without hill trading ran a marathon at age 67.

    Lately I have decided to ditch the watch and not worry about time. Let’s see how the competitive me stays non competitive. It certainly more fun running slower.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely understand how running is a mind game, I’ve written about it on many occasions. It’s so important to focus on all five things you mentioned; I think the toughest would be confidence for me. That one can really get in my head sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Confidence is what I need to work on. I am training for my first HM, again. I psych myself out by doing things like noting how far 13.1 miles is from my house….like it’s really close to 13.1 miles to a certain exit on the interstate (which feels like a really, really long way and takes about 20 minutes to drive on the narrow country roads).

    Liked by 1 person

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