How to Develop Mental Strength

I always want to quit running at the 1/4 of a mile point. That’s when my left side (hip, pelvis, knee, and foot) starts to hurt, and my mind starts to doubt. And that’s when I have to decide if I am going to run or give up. 

I am not going to lie, sometimes I give up. I don’t always have the right mind-set. Nor do I always have the focus and determination that I need to succeed. So I stop. Feel bad that I quit. And walk away discouraged.

Some days, however, I crush it. Not with my body, but with my heart and my mind. By overcoming challenges, I have discovered the beauty and strength of the heart. When we go beyond our excuses, beyond our heartaches, and even beyond our preconceived limits and just do it, we create a memory of overcoming. So when a similar struggle arises, we are able to go back to previous times of overcoming and gain strength. 

Sometimes I have to talk myself through the whole thing. Below is an example of my negative verses positive self-talk.

Negative voice: My legs are hurting. I can’t run today. I can’t.

Positive voice: Yes, you can! You’ve done this before. Remember your first race? Relax. Breathe. Your legs are still moving. You can do this. Run another tenth of a mile and then you can decide if you really want to quit. 

Negative voice: Okay. (After the tenth of a mile.) I want to quit. I’m just not feeling it today. This is hard.
Positive voice: Do you really want to quit? Your legs are still moving. Surely you can run another tenth of a mile. You are so close to your goal. You are strong. Don’t give up now. Pray for someone else struggling. You can stop and end your pain, but so many are suffering. Focus on them. Overcoming your challenges is how you develop strength. You can do this. Running is hard, but so is giving up. Choose your hard. 

And so it continues. This is how I train myself for success. When life seems overwhelming and I just want to give up, I search for the right mind-set and coach myself though it. And sometimes I have to stop. Catch my breath. Pray. And then continue on.

It’s okay to modify our workouts. Sometimes I have to stop and walk. But it’s not okay to just give up. Accomplishing our goals is a wonderful feeling. Would you like for me to be your coach? I would love to help you. Leave me a comment or send me an email to

Have a wonderful day!


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