Mental Focus!

I love reading your blog – I've got so interested in fitness it's great to be able to read about fitness from a Paleo angle.

I would love to know what you actually "think about" when you're doing a particularly hard set – weights/ kettle bells/ or a sprint for example.

I've noticed if I think about how hard it is, how much it hurts, how long the 60 seconds is dragging on for, how heavy the weight is or how my arms are probably about to drop off, my performance is not good.

Distracting myself by thinking about my holiday doesn't seem to help my performance either.

Do you somehow "enjoy" the pain, or not think about it? 

I feel like my mind is such a huge part of my ability to perform well, but I just don't know how to focus to finish my sets as strong as I start them. I'm virtually certain my body is capable of so much more than my mind thinks it is.

I'd be so interested to learn any tricks or techniques you have to work with the pain and perform to the best of your ability, no matter how hard it is.

Kindest Regards,


Hi Suz!
GREAT topic for a blog entry!

The mental component of training is something I've been working on for years; I've progressed a great deal and am sure I still have a lot more to learn ahead of me!

You brought up several good points I'd like to address.

First of all, 'thinking about how something hurts' isn't the issue, it's how we chose to react… or not to.  For example, if I were to ruminate on a run that my coach schedules for the next day and dwell on the fact that doing ten one-mile repeats at 6:00 pace is going to be 'hard' or 'hurt', then I would create a negative state and lessen my chances of being successful at completing the task at hand.  Yes, it will be a challenging workout but… so?  Accept it and move on.

Trying to distract yourself by thinking about the holidays or anything other than what you're doing is not necessarily the best approach.  Rather than trying to 'get away' from what you're doing, get deeper inside of it.  When I'm running, I'm thinking about my pace, my HR, my cadence, focusing on every single second of every single interval.  That's what I'd do in a race.  Would I want to slip from a potential win to 2nd place because I lost an ounce of focus?  NO!  Break the longer sets into smaller pieces to help bring your mind to the present.. and keep bringing it back, should it start to wander.

Finally, yes, your mind is HUGE in the ability to perform well, or not!  WE stand in our own way by determining that we can (or can NOT!) do something.  Why not aim for the positive?  There is just as much chance of being successful if you believe in yourself as there is in failing if you don't have faith.

Hope that helps; enjoy the journey!