Mind Games

Gutting it out at the end of a workout is grueling. Overcome physical humps with these tools:

Chant persistence: Repetition drives momentum, so if the last mile taxes your spirit, recite short mantras in rhythm with each step and breath: “I’m almost there — I’m closer now; I’m almost there — I’m closer now.” Keep focused on the words and cadence. Think The Little Engine That Could.

Inject subliminal melody: Studies show that working out to music can hustle you over hurdles. But you don’t need an MP3 player and headphones. Research shows that just thinking about a song can cue emotional triggers. So crank up the volume on your mental boom box and call to mind ballads for personal significance or popular inspiration — like the Chariots of Fire and Rocky theme songs, or the Olympic fanfare.

Reward progress: Sometimes a dangling carrot can encourage tenacity. Remind yourself of that cold glass of tea or refreshing shower that awaits you after your jog, or the favorite dinner you promised yourself for doing that last lap in the pool.

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