Mindset Training

Mindset Training

By: Headsweats Ultrarunner – Susan Schenberg & Coach Renae Cobley

As an Ultrarunner, I believe that if you are consistent with your training, the most important component to Ultra success is your mindset; as the mind tells the body what to do.

So, how will Mindset Training improve your overall performance? I posed this question to Mindset and Running Coach, Renae Cobley, who shared her expertise below with our Headsweats readers.

“You are either the captain or the captive of your thoughts.”- Denis Waitley

Humans utilize less than ten percent of their mental potential. At our fingertips, we have this untapped and limitless resource; our “mindset”. It is crucial that athletes prepare their mind for the inevitable mental challenges they will face. Ultrarunning is a tough sport; a long journey, it’s painful, and it requires you to dig deep.

Sometimes the body is fit enough to compete and run, but the mind is not ready. Most athletes run on automatic pilot, not even knowing how many gears they have. Mindset preparation transforms an athlete to alter their inner attitude of the mind, which reflects in their physical outer lives; you must train your mind like you train your body.

You never get what you wish for; you get what you work for. We all have what it takes with correct mental training. Athletes should seek to challenge their mindset and belief systems, to make this level of work ethic a non-negotiable; to realize that they are capable beyond measure.

As competition exposes our mental, psychological and emotional inner beings, learning to relax, focus and centre oneself is vital, both at rest and at speed. All athletes have the internal resources to tap into a channel of energy that allows that stellar performance to be produced.

Visualization is strongly encouraged and reinforced, as the subconscious mind can send sabotaging messages to the body when training and competing. Visualizing is paramount; if you can see it in your mind’s eye, you can make it happen. The brain does not know the difference between what we think and what we experience; the brain is entirely unaware as to whether the activity is real or imagined.

There are certain mindset, behavioural flexibility traits and skill sets that allow success:

  • Entirely absorbed in the present moment and activity
  • Laser focused (focus only on what one can control) and fine tune – arousal control – tuned in to the moment – intense concentration
  • Self-aware, self-confident and relaxed – no fear or anxiety – induce calming effect
  • Moving with your instincts – the anticipation of next correct move
  • Positive and optimistic – feeling invincible – enhance motivation – moving with ease – smile – fun/joyful
  • Create effective practice habits/routines – improve performance consistency
  • Preparation of race strategy – visualizing process

Quitting is a dangerous thing to do because it can quickly become a habit.

Keep following your dreams; very few things are impossible to achieve.

If the desire is deep enough, you will get it done.

Never be fearful of developing and discovering your path. Maintain regularity, consistency, patience and determination.

One can either dare to dream of mediocrity or to conquer a great feat; you get to write each chapter.


Renae Cobley is a Mindset and Running Coach. Her role is to support athletes to harness their mental and emotional resources to compete at their highest potential. “I get an athlete to stand behind their goal without any explanation. I train people on overriding their innate instincts to want to stop; feeling that immense struggle to continue and to perform. I assist people to execute what they say they want to achieve. I am their cheerleader; to nail the process and the outcome”.

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