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Because it’s all in your head – the right mindset

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
Michael Jordan

Now that its less than 6 weeks before the Marathon des Sables starts, and my training is more or less done, mental training comes more into focus. I think that everybody the weeks for an event like this has once in a while self-doubt in mind; did I train enough, am I well prepared and skilled for this challenge.. In order to prepare myself I also have to deal with these thoughts and emotions, they are an essential part of the training and preparation.

In endurance races, like MDS, the mental attitude of a runner is of a major importance, Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 17.38.29the mental attitude before the race (confidence in oneself) and during the race (keeping a positive mental attitude). I have to anticipate that I will enjoy the race, that I did my training as good as possible and that I am going to perform well. I need to have the feeling that I am in control, and will be able to handle any situation that arises.
This is an attitude and it is a choice. It is a choice to have an attitude that is predominately positive. Choosing and maintaining a positive mental attitude during the preparation and during the race phase is of uttermost importance. Stop unhelpful thoughts and only focus on what I can do. Which is: keeping a high level of self-motivation. I motivate myself by using positive self-talk, positive mental imagery and going trough repetitive motivating thoughts.

You have to trust in yourself
You must believe in yourself
You have to follow your heart
You overcome improve endure
(Kick You when You’re Down – Machine Head )

Besides being focussed on feeling confident and on keeping a positive mental attitude, it is also important to manage anxiety and emotions, keeping myself concentrated and composed. Anxiety and emotions tend to be irrational, still they do negatively influence attitude and concentration and so my performance. It helps to know that the situation is scheduled in advance and has a defined beginning and an end. The circumstances and the constraints are known in advance and the final outcome is influenced by good preparation, skillful behavior and keeping the right mindset. Its’ all in my head.

Because it’s all in your head
It’s in your head
Sad but it’s true
It’s inside you

(All In Your Head – Machine Head )