Why winter training builds mental toughness

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Keep showing up

Winter running provides us with a fantastic opportunity to test our grit, explore our self-belief, sharpen our self-talk skills and build endurance.

Why? Because heading out the door to do a hill session when it’s dark, cold, raining and snowing is hard. And doing hard things makes us stronger.

Running is about consistency and consistency builds confidence and a strong mindset. The only way we can do this is to keep showing up. To keep on, keeping on, especially during winter. By stepping out of our comfort zone when it’s cold and wet; pushing our boundaries by inspiring ourselves into action; and facing our fears by working on our weaknesses, helps create a champion mindset. A mindset that is flexible and strong.

Speed work takes me out of my comfort zone. It challenges me more than any other session. I am not the fastest, but I know if I keep turning up, I am also working on my ability to overcome obstacles, skills I know I will rely on when racing. It is about progress, not perfection.

How do we keep running in winter? By being prepared.

As human beings, we are built to endure. When we are cold, we can put on a layer. When we are hot, we can remove a layer. If the rain is relentless, quality waterproofs are invaluable. To be able to keep running in winter we need to be prepared. This involves planning our session for the next day; knowing where we’re going to run and at what time; and getting our kit ready in advance, right down to putting our socks next to our shoes. Progress, not perfection.

By simplifying our decision making, the easier it is to head out the door and run. Because at the end of the day, the buck stops with no one, but us.

The quote I lean on when I am finding it hard to head out the door is:

“I am going to do today what you won’t do – so tomorrow I can do what you can’t”. – Jerry Rice

Getting comfortable being uncomfortable

Winter training boosts our confidence and improves our overall mental toughness when we regularly put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. And because of this, we can stand just that bit taller at a race start line and say “Game on” because we know we showed up in all weather conditions and put in the work.

You have a huge amount of potential that you don’t even realise you have until you challenge yourself. See yourself succeeding and give 100% because when you put yourself out there amazing things can happen.

Thank you for reading.