"My pain strategy starts with self-talk. I start with manifesting pain
as a sort of old friend. “Oh, here you are. How are you?” It sounds
crazy, but it works for me. It buys time and is a great way to create in
your own mind a solid tangible that you are dealing with. Then I smile
as I self-talk. It’s my way of honouring the moment.
I focus only on the things that I can control. I focus on my
breathing, my running rhythm and trying to slow down my thoughts and
emotions and keep all thought processes simple. If I am running, I count
steps or create a breathing pattern: Breathe in for three seconds and
out for three seconds.
By shifting your focus onto things that you can control, you take
your mind away from the pain and onto a task that requires
concentration. It is a shift in attention and a simple distraction. The
longer you can play these simple games in your head, the quicker the
body will forget about the pain and the sooner you will be back in the
race. Endorphins kick in after periods of discomfort, so I can assure
you that most of these fights only last about 5–10 minutes, and the pain
will subside. It will return, but you just repeat the game again.
By keeping it a game and embracing the suck, your strength as an
athlete is multiplied. If you fear pain, you make yourself powerless
against it, so embrace the tough moments.
Start planning in training how you will mentally deal with the
suffering. I’m not being negative; it’s about being realistic and
empowering yourself. Write things down after sessions and go into
workouts with the goal of trying to deconstruct the thoughts that you
have at the moment pain presents itself. By writing this down you start
to get a picture of just how your mind works when it’s under stress.
Once you get more familiar with this place and these emotions, you learn
to no longer fear them.
Embrace the suck. By doing so, I promise you will be much more powerful."
Now read it again. Replace pain with fear. Fear of falling, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough. Commit to the move and embrace the suck (of gravity).