Hitting the wall is a common experience for athletes, when you feel physically and mentally exhausted during a race or a long run. Here are five mindset tips that can help you push through this challenging phase:
Focus on the present moment: When you hit the wall, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the distance left to cover or the time left in the race. Instead of thinking about the future, focus on the present moment. Concentrate on your breathing, your form, and your pace. This can help you calm down and avoid you panic spiralling.
Reframe your thoughts: Instead of thinking "I can't do this," try to reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. For example, say to yourself, "I can do this, I've trained for this, and I will get through it." This positive self-talk can help you stay motivated and push through the challenging phase. Think about how fortunate you are to be well enough to even start what you are doing, many people wouldn’t have even started your event let alone get to where you are.
Visualise success: Visualisation is a powerful tool that can help you stay motivated and focused. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line, feeling strong and accomplished. This mental image can help you stay positive and motivated.
Break down the task: When you hit the wall, the distance left to cover can feel daunting. Instead of thinking about the total distance, break it down into smaller chunks. Focus on the next mile or the next water station. This can help you stay focused and motivated.
Embrace discomfort: Running is a challenging and sometimes uncomfortable activity. Embrace the discomfort and remind yourself that it's temporary. Focus on the sense of accomplishment you will feel when you push through the challenging phase and finish the race. Ultra-athlete David Goggins often talks about the 40/60 rule, when you feel that mental and physical exhaustion you often have about 60% left in the tank, you can push a little further.