Psychology of “Hitting The Wall” & 6 Tips

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There are numerous thoughts or beliefs that probably aren’t helpful going into a workout or event.

“I heard that I’ll hit a wall around 20 miles.” – Athlete preparing for a marathon who now expects that will be their experience

“I know I’m going to hit a wall and have to stop.” – Athlete preparing to do a longer workout who’s also setting themselves up to stop when it gets hard

“I don’t want to hit a wall, I hate that feeling of failure and fatigue, I don’t want to hit a wall, I don’t want to hit a wall.” – Athlete freaking out about getting uncomfortable

If your thoughts cause you to lose focus on what’s important, lower your confidence, or create more anxiety…then they are not helping you.

1. The wall is only as big, limiting and daunting as you make it.

2. If you expect that you’ll hit a “wall” then you likely will.

3. Thinking about the wall and all the negativity that comes along with it is taking away from your ability to perform your best. Instead, focus on your strengths, abilities, plan and your why.

4. Always plan what you’re going to think, and how you’re going to respond when the going gets tough, because if you push yourself…it will get challenging and you’ll want to know how to keep yourself moving.

5. Know that getting to a point of fatigue or discomfort is what’s helping you become a better athlete (within reason), you can learn to love that feeling and embrace it.

6. If you hit a place where you have to stop, or slow down, you are not a failure. You can change your plan of attack, pivot, adjust and become more adaptable by learning from your experience.

Of course, there are reasons for really “hitting the wall” that have to do with nutrition and recovery, so make sure that your primary focus is on adequate rest, and proper fueling.

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Men's Health

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