There is something fascinating about the athletes that prefer to race the hard races. These athletes have the uncanny ability to tolerate pain that eludes most people. If you want to know what a tough person does to survive hard races, ask them. for example, Kelly Calway reminds herself that she’s strong when her races get tough. I have personally adopted her mantra “I’m strong” during races because it helps me dig a little bit deeper when I need to make something happen. What I also like about this positive self-talk is that it could be repeated with each foot strike “I’m” (on the left foot) “strong” (on right) so whether you’re in the final straight of a 400m or fighting decline in a long race it is always effective. Some runners prefer to zone out and think about their happy place, or focus on music. This is an effective strategy but it’s not always appropriate because pain is a signal that an athlete needs to take action. Being in tune with our bodies and making necessary adjustments at the right time is problem solving at its best! Running becomes an increasingly mental sport as you race at higher levels of competition and physical superiority stops being the all-conquering advantage... the smartest athletes win. They have a lightning fast ability to process and solve problems, and have the body control to make adjustments that don’t always reduce pain, but allows for them to manage it longer. There are many adjustments that could be made while maintaining equilibrium and these tools are hard-earned through practice. The more tools you have, the more effective you will be on race day.