Tackling a Tough Mudder is as much a mental test as a physical one. With months of hard training to get through – not to mention the unique challenges presented by 20km of mud-splattered obstacle course – you’re sure to encounter demanding situations that test your willpower and resolve. Build Mudder-proof mental toughness with these motivation-enhancing tips.
Train before you work
Research from Florida State University found that willpower is a finite resource that depletes naturally over time, with people being more prone to give in to temptation as the day wears on. Avoid the risk of an unexpectedly stressful day draining your willpower reserves and sabotaging your evening training plans by getting it done when you’re at your most motivated – first thing in the morning. Bonus benefit: you’ll feel energised – and smug – for the rest of the day. Not a morning person? You can track your sleep cycles using the SmartWatch3 from Sony – which syncs to the Xperia™ Z3+ via the Lifelog app – to make sure you’re fully rested and ready to attack the gym first thing.
Plan for the worst
Chances are your best laid training plans will come unstuck at some point through no fault of your own – a last-minute meeting at work eating into your gym time, for example – but an unexpected change in plans needn’t completely undermine your motivation. Studies have shown that you’re up to 40% more likely to work out anyway if you have a ready-made contingency plan to fall back on. Run out of time to go the gym? Revert to a pre-planned bodyweight workout you can do at home.
Making use of training partners will improve your motivation and boost the chances of you sticking to your stated goals, according to research from the University of Leeds. Whether you’ve signed up for a Tough Mudder as part of a team or you’re keen to tackle it as a solo challenge, finding like-minded friends to go running or hit the gym with will improve the quality and quantity of your training.
Go through the motions
Everyone has days when they just can’t face the gym. If you’re really struggling, instead of caving into temptation and sacking it off altogether, scale your workout right back till all it consists of is a single set of your favourite exercise. Once you’ve started, you’re far more likely to finish.
Focus on past glories
Studies suggest that looking back over past successes can motivate you for future events. Use this to your advantage during your Tough Mudder training by getting a workout partner to take pictures documenting some of your most productive gym sessions – the Xperia™ Z3+ from Sony has a ‘highlights’ feature which is ideal for this. You can use these as visual cues in the run up to the event to boost your motivation levels.
Talking to yourself might be known as the first sign of madness, but bear with us: Greek research found that ‘self-talk’ improved motivation in athletes and helped them to overcome adversity. Try to take negative feelings and thoughts relating to previous poor performances and frame them in a positive way. For example, remember a training run where you felt particularly tired, write down the thoughts you had and then turn the negative elements into positive ones. For example, ‘my legs are finished, I’ve got to stop’, can easily become ‘my legs are tired, so I’ll focus on my technique to run more efficiently and give them a break’. This forms a positive self-statement that you can repeat to yourself to boost your motivation the next time you’re in that position – ie when you’re struggling round a tough 20km obstacle course.
Worried that you’ll freeze – literally – in the murky depths of Sony’s Arctic Enema, or panic when faced with the gauntlet of pain that is Electroshock Therapy? Boost your motivation and improve your chances of success with visualisation, a technique that professional athletes use as a mental warm-up to help perform under pressure, supported by research from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Imagine yourself on the day of the event – even down to small details such as what you’ll be wearing – then visualise yourself facing the obstacle in question and emerging triumphant on the other side. Want a handy reference point? Use the web browser on your Xperia™ Z3+ to save a picture of the offending obstacle from the Tough Mudder website that you can have to hand to trigger the positive mental image whenever negative thoughts start to creep in.
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