Your brain is pretty sneaky. It will work really hard to convince you that the safest thing for you to do is stay at home, surrounded by warmth, food and comfort. Why do you want to go and run 50 miles in a heatwave or a blizzard when you can kick back and watch NetFlix with some chocolate?
It's a hardwired protection mechanism that keeps us safe and, in days of yore, would have been very useful in the fight for survival. Nowadays however, it can actually hold us back from achieving what we are truly capable of. So many people that could have finished a run, ride, walk, have stopped because their brain fooled them into thinking they would suffer terrible consequences by continuing. But, you fight against this by learning to trick your brain right back with practise.
Break your event down into chunks. Don’t allow yourself to think about the next 10 hours; just focus on the next 10 minutes and you will get through it.
Stay practical. If you feel your emotions taking over – ‘I’m not good at this’, ‘I always fail’, ‘Why can’t I go faster?’ – then become an emotionless robot. Think of your body as a machine that will do what you tell it to do and take charge.
Breathe! If you start to panic or worry that you will have to stop, slow down and take big, deliberate, belly breaths. It is amazing what a calming effect it has when you feel like everything is going sideways.
Be ready to adapt. Things might not be going as planned, but you can still achieve in other ways. Focus on going forward and more often than not, things will start to improve. You can read more about this in another article we wrote recently on setting ABC goals for race performance.