Defined often as the ability to think clearly and to make decisions efficiently, it can be also known as the ‘x-factor’, promoting tenacity and resilience.

The benefits of mental fitness have been broadly researched scientifically; this research suggests that it can be the defining feature that determines a successful outcome.

Mental fitness is essential to undertake any training, from endurance tests like Ironman triathlons and ultramarathons to combat competitions or CrossFit events. It is also important to have it facing real live situations, at work and in stressful environments.

It promotes tenacity and the ability of persevere for long periods of time over obstacles, challenging situations and even overcoming failure. People more mentally fit have shown better cognitive readiness, better attention to detail and lower heart rates than those less mentally fit.

Mental fitness is trainable and like physical fitness, it also has to be maintained or you risk losing it.

So, how can we improve out mental fitness skills?

Being physically fit.

Undertaking strength & conditioning and endurance programmes working towards achieving a goal, will help staying mentally fit. Make a ‘mind-body’ connection to integrate it into the training process to gain both physical and mental toughness.


By creating a successful outcome or image in your mind prior to events such as a race, interview, selection, exam, public speaking, etc, this enables you to be more prepared and relaxed at the time of facing the real event. You can build different mental scenarios depicting yourself being successful and proud of achieving your goal. You can also use it to control your emotions (fear, anxiety…) and increase self confidence.

Positive self talk

This is closely related to visualisation and it has also shown excellent results in high performing athletes. Treat yourself with respect and acknowledge with humility your achievements. Use key words that encourage you to keep going in difficult or challenging situations. Learn from your mistakes and take the positives out of the negatives. Most important, life goes on.

One step at a time

Extremely important when facing long term goals. Divide the big task/goal into smaller and more achievable tasks or steps. It requires practice and discipline but it can be done. For example, split a marathon in 4x10k and 2 extra km at the end.


Sometimes we can’t control external factors no matter what. Think of weather, other people attitudes or comments, gear failure… However we can control our actions and outlook. Laugh at yourself and at the situation as that can help to release the anxiety and reset your focus.

Finally, use it or lose it.

As with almost everything else, mental fitness needs to be practised consistently. If you stop practising any activity such as running or weightlifting, soon you will find that your speed, stamina and strength will decrease. Mental fitness is no different.

Continue challenging yourself so you can continue practising mental resilience.