Today we pick up on the “Other People” Mental Toughness approach with the 2nd level:
Level 2: Cheer Someone
Level 2 involves pouring all of your energy into cheering for someone else. Imagine from my opening story if I had joined the Belgian for the last kilometer and cheered him to the finish line with a passionate: “You got this — we got this – let’s finish this!”. With this approach, it’s likely that we both would have finished stronger and we would have created a memory much more special than my solo sprint finish.
Often when you cast off selfish tendencies and focus your racing energy on motivating and cheering someone else, it will not only help them, but also deliver new strength and energy back to you. It’s a great investment. Try it the next time you are suffering a bit during a training session. Think of yourself as a pacer for a friend in an ultra marathon. Regardless of how you are feeling as a pacer, you know that you are there for the sole reason of providing support and encouragement so that your friend will finish the race. That sense of purpose gives you strength to be a great pacer and the ability to ignore any of your own challenges. When she’s been out running for 20 hours and you are only two hours into your shift with her, the last thing you want to do is let her hear you complain about your feet or hunger. Your sense of purpose and focus on someone else places you in a zone of strength.
The next step is to trust it during your own race. Cheer your fellow racers – offer encouragement
even especially if you’re in great need of it yourself. It will make a huge difference.
Train smart, play hard and have fun!
— Coach Jeff