Recently I came across a statement on an ultra running site that said running ultras were 90% mental and 10% physical. When you think about that statement,especially if you have never run an ultra before,it has a kind of comforting ring to it. It sort of infers that if you just convince yourself that you can run it,then the running(physical) will not be all that bad.Well, I learned two things from running ultras: one, is that quite often certain parts of the ultras you race can be incredibly boring. The other? They are very challenging physically,irregardless of the fact that I once thought that it was just "mind over matter." Optimism and positive thinking have to be tempered by some kind of grounding in reality.
Australian coach Fred Lester really offers great insights into this subject,consider the following:"To ignore facts, to substitute wishful thinking under the guise of 'mind over matter', can only lead to abuse of the body and depression of the mind. In the case of an athlete,it amounts to stupidity,in the case of the coach it borders on the criminal. As for 'thinking big,' we have to interpret that phrase to mean having a long view of things,a perspective of what we aim to achieve.It becomes a case of building up gradually,step by step,consolidating one stage before the next. Know what you are capable of at the time. Then,and only then,you raise your targets to the next level. The confidence you have gained by fulfilling your earlier target leaves you free of mental strain to go on to higher places.Disappointment in not reaching a target which has been set too high in the first place acts like a brake by the setting up of mental strain,expressed in nervous tension beyond the safe point.Knowing what you can do, knowing that you can go on improving by intelligent and correct conditioning for the task ahead is the only positive mental approach. Constant and regular application and an intellectual appraisal of facts are the highway to success and satisfaction,to getting the best out of yourself."
As Cerutty said, an athlete must always consider and evaluate what he is doing..