As a runner, it’s your worst nightmare. You see the finish line. Your competition is breathing down your neck. All you need is just a little extra kick for just a little bit longer and you’re there, but you just can’t. Your legs have nothing left. Your lungs burn in pain, and you have no choice but to slow down, ease up and surrender. You’ve hit your body’s breaking point and you just can’t push past it. Yet some people, when faced with their physical limit, do go beyond it. In fact, the world’s top runners do it all the time, but how? Well, sometimes such great performances go beyond all explanation, but using what can be explained, below are a few tricks you can use to push past your own breaking point.
Have a mantra or a power phrase: Sometimes what’s holding you back isn’t physical but mental – you don’t think you can run harder, so you can’t. As you approach your physical limits, you’re even more apt to question whether or not you can keep going. The trick is to convince yourself you can by telling yourself something strong that you believe in. It can be as simple as, “I can do this,” or a single word repeated like, “faster, faster, faster,” and by focusing on this one positive idea you can silence any doubts that might be rising up.
Visualize your finish: When your body is stressed during a workout or a race you’ll often think that the end is too far away and you’ll never make it. If, however, you can imagine yourself making it – if you can see yourself turning the last corner you can hold off on giving up long enough until you really do see the final stretch and adrenaline takes over.
Weigh your priorities: Hitting your body’s physical limit hurts. It’s uncomfortable, unnatural and even scary. Winning a race or beating your best time, on the other hand, can feel amazing. If you can make experiencing that great feeling of first place or a top time your goal, and keep focusing on it you can overcome your body’s natural desire to feel comfortable again as it tires.
Train at your threshold: As important as it is to be mentally prepared for hitting your body’s limit, obviously, you must be prepared physically as well. Having regular workouts where your goal is to hit your limit, to get exhausted, and to feel uncertain of whether or not you can keep going is the best way to be certain that when the time comes to push past that breaking point, your body will know what to do.