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?

Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds


Or is it?

When I started looking at quotes for today’s Wednesday Word, consistent, that particular quote popped into my mind. I’ll bet I’m not the only blogger who thought of it.

But where did the quote come from? Obviously I am not well read enough, because, as it turns out, it’s actually a misquote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The actual quote is:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now don’t take this the wrong way, but Emerson’s quote is exactly why I rarely join in run streaks or challenges consisting of one exercise every day. I think variety is, indeed, the spice of life, and I think anything taken to extremes isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Only you can define what is taking something to extreme for you, and what will motivate you. And don’t forget that at times I’ve been known to overexercise with the best of them.

Then I ran across this interesting article that explores consistency a bit further.

It’s what we do everyday that counts

In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.
–Tony Robbins

Getting back to consistent, though, I truly believe that being consistent is very important for runners.

One definition of consistent is “continuing to develop or happen in the same way”.

It really seems like I’m at odds here — I won’t runstreak, or do planks or lunges or squats every day, but I want things to be consistent. My definition of consistent is simple: to just keep showing up and doing the work.

That I can do. That I have done for the seven years I’ve been running. That I’ve been doing for the last eight years since I went back to Weight Watchers at my highest weight ever.

Quite simply, being consistent is the secret to my success.

Just what is a hobgoblin, anyway?

Oh God, I so need one, because according to Wikipedia, hobgoblins:

. . . are often found within human dwellings, doing odd jobs around the house while the family is lost in sleep. Such chores are typically small deeds, like dusting and ironing. Often, the only compensation necessary in return for these is food

I would love to have little guys come in while I sleep and dust and iron and maybe clean the bathroom, too. It would free me up to bake more, which is totally a win-win situation.

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

How are you consistent?

What’s your definition of consistent?

Don’t you want a hobgoblin now?

Would you like me if I weren’t a runner?

Would you be my friend if we weren't runners-

I’m not sure if it’s because I no longer work, or because it’s just my nature, but I tend to think about odd questions. A lot. In fact, one of the reasons I enjoy running is that it actually helps me turn my brain off, especially if I’m running hard — then I’m usually not thinking about much at all.

The  Tuesdays on the Run linkup subject for today is what I wrote about last week: advice I’d tell my new runner self. Last week’s subject: sum up your running in one word: for me, that word would be consistent.

I wasn’t sick this winter (knocks on wood). We didn’t get much snow — in fact, April has been the snowiest month of 2016! My half is a bit over a month from now, and I’ve run three 9 mile long runs and two 10 mile long runs. That’s a good feeling.

I’ve been able to follow the training plan I made for myself, loosely based on a training plan I did last year training for a spring half at approximately the same time. Sure, I’m once again fighting some nagging little injuries, but that’s all they are — nagging little injures.

So consistent it is. And that’a good thing. Sometimes I think that’s everything when it comes to running!

So let’s get to what I happen to be thinking about lately, even if it’s Tuesday, not Thursday.

Running brings together all kinds of people
I have moved to four different states since I graduated from college (many years ago). Each time was to a city where I knew no one. Each time, eventually, I made friends.

I took up running with this last move. Is it any wonder that all my friends are runners?

I sometimes wonder if I would be friends with some of my runner friends if we didn’t have running in common. Usually I find that we have something other than running in common, too — for instance, have you ever noticed that most runners seem to be animal lovers? Or maybe I just gravitate towards the runners who are animal lovers.

Oftentimes, as we get to know each other, we learn other interests that we have in common. But oftentimes we’re extremely different people, too, and I wonder, if we didn’t have running, the thing that brought us together in the first place, would you have ever looked past my shy exterior and our differences and become my friend? Or is it simply that running attracts a certain type of person?

Do you ever wonder if you’d be friends with the same people if you didn’t run?
How many of your friends run?
Tuesdays on the Run

I’m linking up today with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.