The One Characteristic You Need to Get Through Any WOD
Training isn't just physical. Have you ever failed a lift, even though you knew you were physically capable? Have you ever backed out of a WOD, because your internal dialogue said you weren't fit or strong enough?
You can't just rely on your physical capabilities to get you through a training session. As well as being physically strong, you also need to be mentally strong. Mental toughness helps you push through any barriers, putting your emotions to one side and getting the job done.
If you're regularly missing lifts, or feeling dissatisfied with your performance, you need to work on your mental toughness. Here are a few techniques that might help:
Learn How to Set Goals
We discussed goal setting in relation to motivation a few weeks ago, and the same thing applies here. If you set effective, long-term goals - you should feel confident you're able to achieve them, and have no excuses for mental weaknesses. You should also think about your immediate goals at the start of each session, answering the following questions:
- What are my goals for this session?
- Are they realistic?
- How hard do I need to push myself?
- What steps will I take to achieve them?
Once you've decided what your goals are, you'll find it easier to push yourself to accomplish them - and more confident because you've considered them carefully.
Once you've set your goals, make use of the community aspect of the box and share them with your training buddies. This will make you more accountable. If someone else knows what you're aiming for, it can give you that extra mental push when you need it most.
Focus on the Immediate Task
Once you've set your goals, and broken them down into steps, you need to give each task the required level of focus. For example, if you need to work on some mobility before the session starts, give it your full attention until you're done, then move onto the next step.
Don't just sit there, passively rolling out your calves whilst having a good chinwag with your mates. Think about what you need to do, and how it will benefit you during the session.
Squash Your Inner Critic
The biggest threat to your mental toughness is the voice inside your head. You know, the one that pipes up 5 minutes into the WOD, "Holy crap, that was only 5 minutes? You went out too fast! How the hell are you going to keep this up for another 10 minutes?!".
As soon as that voice appears, you need to squash it. Just switch it off, find your pace, and keep going. This is really easy to write down in a blog post, but can be difficult to do - internal criticism can be loud during tough WODs, so it might take some practice. Stick with it though, and watch your performance improve immeasurably.
If you can't switch off the voice altogether, try to frame things more constructively. No matter how long you have left, the workout will soon be over, and you'll be lying in the recovery position, in a pool of sweat and (potentially) tears. Just get it done!
We all have long-term goals that drive our training, and keeping them in mind can help you push through anything. What are the consequences if you fail? How will this workout bring you closer to your goals? How will you feel when you achieve them?
Visualise yourself achieving your long-term goals, focusing on the feelings and emotions associated with them. This could be anything - from weight-loss to standing on the podium at the CrossFit Games. The important thing is that it means something to you - so use it!