We train to be physically prepared. We put in countless hours in the gym or on the road to be strong and fast. We love the grind and the process. But on some days, it's a struggle to stay motivated.
And it's those days when we don't have the energy or desire to train that determine our long-term success. It is our mindset that establishes the kind of athlete we are and the kind of athlete we will become. And if we want to succeed, we have to take time to train the mind just like we train our bodies.
One of the smartest mediation coaches I know, John Main, said, "If you want to be great, you can't have a first place body and a last place mind."
To be a great athlete, we have to learn to push through mental fatigue, stress and doubt. We also have to learn to focus on what we can control while letting go of what we can't.
How often have you become frustrated, overwhelmed or angry during a race or workout? If you knew how to quickly calm down, refocus and begin again, would that have changed the result of your race or training day?
Training your mind is the same as training your body. It can be as simple as learning to sit still and focus your attention—a practice called meditation.
When we hear the word meditate, we imagine yogis sitting in some crazy cross-legged position for hours at a time. And while their goals might be different then ours, the benefits of meditation are the same.
By sitting quietly for a few minutes a day, we teach ourselves to focus, listen to our thoughts that are drowned out by everyday life and learn how to control our breath.