Overcoming Negative thoughts in Endurance events

This is a post from personal experience and one I feel is very important in maximising your performance and getting the most out of yourself.

The mind is a very powerful tool and can be as much a hindrance to your performance as it it can be a positive influence. More than likely your performance was limited not by your physical condition but what was going on upstairs.

I recently took on the challenge of riding my MTB the length of the West Highland Way and then back again. A total of 192 miles over some very rough terrain not always meant for a MTB. This was going to take in the region of 30 hours. No easy feat.

Unfortunately I never managed to complete the challenge set. The biggest stumbling block was the thoughts going through my head and trying to keep positive. I learnt a lot and feel this will make me a lot more robust for future attempts. I have highlighted below some of the things I feel could help you and issues I encountered during my ride.


1) It is very easy to talk yourself out of doing things. Making up excuses and then convincing yourself it is the right thing to do and take the easy way out. This certainly happened to me during my recent MTB ride.

2) If you have a support team or coach around you make sure they are briefed with the messages you want to hear. When you are tired and you hear a potential weakness from your support team, you will grasp onto that and it will stick with you.

3) You all have to be on the same page with no negative thoughts or potential talk of ‘just see how you feel’ or ‘you don’t have to do this’

4) Try and come up with a way of overcoming negative thoughts. For example have a positive mantra taped to the top tube of your bike so you can always see it.

5) You will go through bad patches- it is natural. However remember that they will not last and you will get through them.

6) Remember why you are doing it. You have a goal and remember how good it will feel when you achieve it.


So remember, the next time you are really struggling or want to stop, you are not alone. Find a way to keep going and get the job done and enjoy the experience.


Photo credit- http://imacimages.com