You’re stronger than you think: mental coach Sandra Mastropietro speaks about ultra running

We’re one month away from the Lavaredo Ultra Trail official start, and we meet up with the mental coach and ambassador La Sportiva Sandra Mastropietro, talking about the importance of the mind when preparing and running an ultra marathon.

You’re stronger than you think: mental coach Sandra Mastropietro speaks about ultra running

The famous Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're usually right.” His quote emphasizes on how much attitude determines success or failure. In life as well as in sports; it’s your mind which decides how the “story” turns out.

 That might sound kind unusual to you, since reeled off mileage, high altitude training and uncountable strengthen reps are supposed to be the key to success – at least, that’s what all these training books are saying. And they are –of course- right, but to be frank: Who releases all the muscular strength and well build endurance?

Right, the mind. Your mind basically is the CEO of your body. The engine that navigates all the muscles strength and remaining power, that regulates the supply and the circulation. If we look at the mind in this way it would be easier to think that, besides the naturally heathy and strong body, the “Key to success” is that your mind really likes its work and it wants to do it, because it can!

Every time we face a duty, the mind feels under pressure. This mental strain translate itself into tense muscles (neuromuscular proven) and block of our supply chain – and we really don’t want that to happen during the race. So what can we do and how do we manage to face all the challenges positively?

1)Even though that might sound like a cliché, the first thing you need to do is to accept the fact that you not perfect. Nobody is and nobody has to be! You’re human, and accepting your own weaknesses is the first step to open up to a million of possibilities to grow every time!

2) Find inner peace by accepting the fact that your life will not be depending on that one race. (Except if you are an Olympian, but in that case you probably already have your own Mental Coach to work with) There are many races and usually they repeat each year, so start them with the intention of enjoying as much as possible and see how it will go for you: your expectations will probably be exceeded since we have the tendency to underestimate ourselves. And even if we’re not able to overcome for once, let’s look at the as a teacher instead of a friend, and appreciate the things you have learned on the path.

3) Be focused! That might sound a bit contradict to the preceding point, but it is not. Being focused and enjoying don`t mutually exclusive each other. Of course, it’s normal to be nervous right before the race, it would be strange otherwise. It’s called adrenalin, and it’s a good thing.
Still: pay attention to your breath, it should be attentive, steady and calm. Right before the start, close your eyes and recap all the training you have done. Tell yourself that you are well prepared and if there are doubts, just remember that inner peace thing: whatever it will be, you will do best you can, learn and grow!

4) If the race is hard on you, never lose your motivation. Remember that you do it because you love it and this is the only reason why you are here. It’s because you love to run, to train and to be outside – on the mountains. And besides all that: after pain, there comes glory. And it will last!

5) Last but absolutely not least: Always keep in mind that you are stronger than you think! Get rid of all these doubts and pressure. You can – because you want, not because you have to! You are awesome – just the way you are.


About the Author: Sandra Mastropietro, 31 yrs old, is a Mental Coach and passionate Ultra-Trail-Runner from Munich, Germany. She is currently training for the Lavaredo Ultratrail