Can your innate mental toughness be improved?
I believe it can.
How important is mental toughness for runners? According to 1983 Boston marathon winner and American record holder at 10 miles Greg Meyer, mental toughness is one of the most important ingredients for reaching your potential: “I believe totally that the mental makeup of a runner, both over a career and on any given day is about what you called toughness, and what another might call confidence in their expectation of the planned outcome. The belief that one is “ready to run” and is confident in their fitness, allows the athlete to appear mentally tough. Bill Rodgers running the hills through Newton was as mentally tough as anyone—from a belief in his ability and his goal. When equal athletes compete, it is the one who doesn’t lose focus or waver in their belief who wins. The toughness of single-mindedness I call it.”
Bill Rodgers thinks the term “mental toughness” is “a description of how well an athlete prepares for the physical and mental challenges of their sport. I like the great Tanzanian marathoner Juma Ikangaa’s comment, ‘The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.’” Lynn Jennings has said, “Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, like the muscles of the body.”