Crush Any Challenge With These 3 Mental Tricks

Join Jens in the Strava Spring Into Summer challenge.This week Fitbit and Strava are challenging you to Sprint into Summer by running 26.2 cumulative miles by June 24. I’m in. Are you? Don’t worry, Jens—the king of crazy undertakings—is here to help you through it.

As you’ve probably noticed, even in retirement, I continue to look for challenges, often creating them myself. I’ve ridden 29,029 vertical feet—the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest—run a half-marathon, then a marathon, and then attempted to run 7 marathons in 7 days. There’s an old saying, “Standing still means falling behind,” and I don’t want to feel like I’ve fallen behind. Besides, challenges keep things fun.

But I’ll acknowledge that as thrilling as challenges are, it’s easy for the novelty to wear off and for progress to fall by the wayside. For some added motivation, I encourage you to get your family and friends involved. And, since I’ll be competing alongside you, feel free to check my progress on the Strava leaderboard, too.

The best piece of advice I can offer, however, is to start this challenge with a strong mindset. As I’ve learned, when it comes down to it, physical ability only gets you so far, so it it must be backed by mental toughness. Below are a few things I’ve learned along the way. As you push your body to log every mile, keep these tips in mind to set yourself up for success.

3 Challenge Tips That Will Help You Go the Distance

Customize The Challenge To Your Goals
I strongly believe this challenge is doable for everyone. The key is to tailor it to your ability. You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the task, but it shouldn’t be a guaranteed win either. If you’re a fitness newbie, I suggest breaking the 26.2 miles down into small daily runs. Lace up and get moving after you drop the kids off at school, take your dog on a long run after work, or log miles after dinner. Already fit? Cut the distance in half and complete two half-marathons with a few days of recovery in between. Are you an experienced runner looking for the ultimate challenge? Play it cool all week, then run a marathon on the last day.

Reframe Setbacks To See The Positive
It’s easy to smile in the face of victory, but it takes even more character to turn a perceived “failure” into success. If you miss a day or are unable to finish a run, don’t dwell on it. Remember, you put forth the initial courage needed to take on the challenge—good on you for being brave! You developed a plan to tackle the challenge and have been giving it your best shot—that in itself is a win.

Focus On The Payoff
This week, if you start to struggle or your motivation wanes, think about how amazing it will feel to cross the finish line. Use visualization to channel that excitement and keep you going.

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