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They forgot one , actually embracing and getting enjoyment from the suffering.


In other words, they are self-centred super egos! ;D


I have been and seen races where a lot of women overtook men in the run part of triathlon. I consider the run part as the hardest since one is very tired after the 2 legs. I believe power is no longer the issue here but handling the heat and exhaustion, a lot of mental toughness. Juggling my time being a wife, mother, a business woman and a triathlete is my best training of handling mental toughness!


Not an especially illuminating reference tbh. Most anyone could come up with this list. Its also got at least one error.
"Never self-flagellate" is by no means universal. For some(most even?) self-flagellation is a key driving force. Bradley Wiggins is an example. A reminder that being a top performer doesn't necessarily make you happy.

Also doesn't answer the key questions, especially relevant to those who are not professional athletes, of whether you can train this area and if you can how do you do it.

FWIW Couple of thoughts on how you can develop mental toughness:

A- Train for it explicitly as you would otherwise, through specificity and overstress . Some examples that helped me:
>> Living in the UK I had no experience of doing massive climbs. So I found a short hill with a gradient of 15% and rode repeat after repeat to complete exhaustion.
- Do a century ride with no food, just drinking water. Helps recognise the onset symptoms of the "wall", address its fear factor, show you how fast you can go if the worst happens and also gives a useful reference for how much you need to eat/drink
- Force yourself to do a long training ride in the worst possible conditions.
- If your focus is long distance endurance do some short road races and vice versa.
>> Shared factor to all is to give you experience that allows you to say when the going gets tough you can say to yourself "this is hard but I've had worse"

B- Live in the moment. A useful tactic to deal with the toughest situations is forget everything and just focus on a continuous succession of short term objectives, say reaching a mark on the road 15m ahead or simply just doing another 10 more revs. At 14m/9 revs forget that goal and set another.

One more thought, though I know it may be a bit sensitive. Something else that really should be addressed in any discussion of mental toughness is the role of religious belief. This has a number of effects e.g.
- Difficult conditions can be seen in a positive light
- You always feel you have a source of help
- Success is more than just a selfish thing

The best recent example I have seen of this is in the documentary "Senna" (a must watch for anyone who likes sport of any type). There is a stunning section where Senna won the Brazilian GP despite only being able to drive in one gear. At the end he is utterly exhausted, mentally and physically, far worse than anyone at this years tour. His later interview is disarmingly frank in how he puts his entire performance down to the his faith and the help of God.

(I am ofc not saying you have to have religious belief to be successful in sport. But it clearly has some role and those that don't have it should at least recognise this.)

Meggan Ann

I don't think Martin is saying anything Friel or Jones haven't already. The example of Senna is an example of Jones' compartmenalization point "Like Darren Clarke, the golfer who inspired his team to a Ryder Cup victory shortly after the death of his beloved wife, elite performers are masters of compartmentalization."


FWIW, speaking as a currently injured rider... I'd like to add that it sometimes takes more strength to stay away from a sport than it does to endure suffering.

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