ATC 364: The End Of An Era (An Announcement), Plus Mental Toughness Part 2

April 5, 2024


Fullscript is an online supplement dispensary with professional, high quality top-brand supplements from a verified distributor. When you sign up for  Fullscript through EP you can get an exclusive discount off thousands of choice of top-level supplements.

Fullscript even carries PerfectAmino essential amino acids by BodyHealth—including the tablet form and powder form. Some other good finds on  Fullscript include Vital Protein Collagen Peptides, Thorne products, Nordic Naturals fish oils, and other great, trusted brands such as Pure Encapsulations and Designs For Health. Fullscript has you covered on every aspect of health and wellness. Head over to Fullscript now by clicking the link, and get set up with your own personal account for an exclusive discount off your supplements. When you buy supplements from a trusted source you ensure higher efficacy and proper storage and handling. So check out Fullscript, your go-to online dispensary with a discount..

On this episode of Ask The Coaches with Tawnee and Lucho, we have a special announcement for our fans and more.

Intro Banter

  • Why Lucho doesn’t own a snow blower (yes, he was still under snow at time of this recording, in spring).
  • The value of manual labor like shoveling your own snow.
  • Lucho learns to snowboard… and also how he met and fell in love with his wife during an early-life era that involved skiing.
  • Tawnee’s love for snowboarding.

End Of An Era

First, we announce the end of Endurance Planet, or, perhaps… a pause… for now. Tawnee shares her thoughts behind this difficult decision and what went into it. We also share our reflections as co-hosts of Ask The Coaches (and the multiple variations the show has had) for more than 13 years and what it’s meant to us. Stay tuned as Ask the Coaches #365 (the next show) will be our last and it’s a great show we have planned!

Also, the podcast episodes will still be up for our fans and audience to listen to and go back into the archives to re-listen to past shows or recommend them to people who you think may benefit.

If you have enjoyed this show, please leave us a positive review on the podcast app!

Also, on this episode we followup to our mental toughness question from the last show, ATC 363. We had a lot of great feedback, comments and thoughts from that episode so in this one we cover a couple questions/comments:

Anonymous Writes:

Is It Ego, Discipline or Mental Toughness That’s The Driving Force?

G’day Tawnee and Lucho,

Thanks for the great shows you guys put together. I loved the recent episode on mental toughness and have really appreciated Tawnee’s recent series on her life and eating disorder (note: OMM 15 was the first installment of this series for those interested). Thank you for being so open and vulnerable. One of my favourite shows was Lucho’s wrap up of his last Ironman. Amazing to hear both of you being so honest. On the mental toughness episode Lucho said pushing past pain was foolish but I seem to remember Lucho talking throughout ATC about running through plantar fasciitis pain and other niggles or injuries. Was this driven by ego or your need/want to race? Just wondering how you justified this at the time and if you’re opinion on it has changed. I agree that David Goggins probably shouldn’t have turned his knees into dust but there has to be some middle ground? I recently trained a lot of swimming and decided to see if i could do 25km in the pool, I’d only ever done 10km in the pool before this. About 7 hours into my 9.5 hour swim my shoulders started to hurt… I didn’t know it was possible for someone’s shoulders to feel like they did. I weighed it up and didn’t think i was doing permanent damage to my shoulders so kept going. Do you think this was my ego, discipline or  mental toughness ?

I don’t think i have a huge ego, I’ve never had any social media and usually keep goals/achievements just to my family but then again if i didn’t have an ego i wouldn’t have mentioned the swim above. Obviously i’d love to hear Lucho say “That’s awesome” or Tawnee say “Wow, that’s a great effort” I’ve completed a few ultra runs and have a couple of 100 mile runs completed in the “Last one standing” format. I often wonder what’s driving me, of course i like the challenge and i hope i can inspire my kids, and my niece and nephews but if i’m going to be honest it’s probably also about proving people wrong. I’ve got a significant vision impairment so sometimes i feel like i can’t do many things but i can do these endurance tests. Not sure if this is a long term fuel source and these feelings of insecurity probably have lead me to abusing alcohol in the past.

Anyway, just wanted to say I love these type of discussions from you two so please keep it up. Thanks again for the great shows, we really appreciate it.

What the Coaches say:

  • Bringing vulnerability to this show and all the growth we can all gain from it.
  • Why ego isn’t all evil and we can use it as an ally and channel it for good especially as athletes—something we discuss in detail with Jess Gumkowski in this episode.
  • Context, nuance and experience when training or running through niggles. Ask: What do you have on the line? What’s the issue and how bad could it potentially get?
  • Not pushing through something that you’re incapable of; still doing that which you’re capable of within your fitness realm.
  • Seeking advice from professionals or experts.
  • What Steve Magness suggests in his book.
  • If a pursuit or goal is unfolding before you and looking unattainable, be willing to re-engage and modify for a new goal. Reassess and re-evaluate—that is mental toughness. Bring self-awareness to the situation.
  • Revising goals on the fly.
  • What are the thoughts, reasons, etc, that are driving behavior?
  • Know your personal boundaries and limits.
  • The only dumb workout is the one that gets you injured.
  • Motivation from within vs seeking motivation from external factors. A healthy balance of ego vs internal factors not related to ego.
  • David Goggins is in no way wrong but his approach may not be for everyone.
  • For some of us, the mental toughness can be the ability to not do the “thing” and hold back to not overdo it.
  • Embracing differences.
  • So what was it for him? Depends on what was going through his mind at the time, i.e. his why… but, that said, probably a combo of ego and discipline.

Laura Writes:

Discipline vs. Mental Toughness From a Behavioral Analyst

I am Tawnee’s single mama with two kids who also stroller runs friend. I found the conversation on mental toughness very interesting and while I thought you both made good points, I wanted to give my perspective being a behavior analyst and studying behavior for over 20 years.  But first here is my conclusion from your conversation.

When you have a choice, it’s discipline, when you have no choice it’s mental toughness.

Here’s why.

Behavior is a product of its function meaning everything learned is for a reason. Simplified those reasons are either the behavior is  met with intrinsic reinforcement meaning it feels good to us OR its met with extrinsic reinforcement meaning it is socially validated. Additionally, there are setting events or what I call motivating operations involved in one’s decision to engage or not engage in a behavior. A motivating operation is a circumstance that either increases or decreases the effect of the reinforcer (satiation and deprivation).

When it comes to endurance events and training it is ALWAYS a choice. Each of my choices will result in either punishment or reinforcers both intrinsically and extrinsically. The environment that is existing at the time of my choice is purley a setting event that its going to increase or decrease the value of the reinforcer. If I have to go out and run 20 miles in the pouring rain (environment) and I do it (choice) I will be met with a high level of intrinsic reinforcement. If I do it and I do it faster than anticipated or I get a strava segment I now have extrinsic reinforcement piled on which is what creates runners high. I have made these choices because im disciplined and motivated by either positive reinforcement which is the addition of a stimulus that increase the future likelihood of behavior ( faster time, did something hard, strata segment) or negative reinforcement which is the removal of a stimulus which increase future behavior (escaping self doubt and self punishment for not doing the activity)

If its pouring down rain (envornment) and I dont run (choice) I could be met with punishment (negative self talk, negative coaching feedback) that will make me not skip a run in the future or reinforcement (nice cozy bed and sleep) which will make me likely to skip runs in the future. Its simply the choices we make based on environmental factors and the consequences of those choices. Im not taking away from the difficulties of the completing the choice but thats where discipline is different then mental toughness in my option.

Now, take away the watch, the data, the race, the coach, social validation, social media, all of it. you’re left if solely intrinsic motivation. This in itself can fuel behavior or choices for certain people but not all people. Again, discipline. there is always a choice. If I do it im great and feel good (positive reinforcement) if I dont do it and feel shitty about myself (negative reinforcement)

But what about when you have no choice and this concept expands far outside of endurance racing and training. You must engage in the behavior because you have to there is not choice. Things that may seem minimal like having to wake up 5 times a night every night for months to feed my son and doing it while also maintaining a household and working full time with no other help. Losing a family member and still showing up for the others, All the way to soldiers being forced to fight in war and coming home where they are required to function like a normal human being. All circumstances where we have no choice and the people that prevail, in my opinion demonstrate mental toughness.

To me, this is my experience with mental toughness verses discipline. In my past life, I was disciplined when I was trying o qualify for world championships. I did all the hard training, I did multiple workouts a day, I trained as hard as I could and guess what I qualified. That was also met with a lot of social validation and reinforcement. It filled my bucket. I was very disciplined and it paid off. In my current life, I have not slept more than 2.5 hours at a time for 9 weeks now, I still have to be a parent, go to work, cook all the meals, clean the house, do all the things. Im so sleep deprived that I dont think straight. But, I dont have a choice. doing all of this with a smile on face and in hindsight, loving every minute is mental toughness. I want to be angry in the middle of the night but I can’t. I want to lose patience but I can’t. I want to sleep until I wake up but I can’t. Mental toughness.

What the Coaches say:

  • A fresh, concise, educational perspective on these terms.
  • Empowering to better understand ourselves and how we tick and how we can thrive.
  • Learning these things helps us gain better inner control and thus have the potential for better race outcomes with more self-awareness.
  • No regrets, but reflecting back on what was possibly going through our minds during certain race experiences in the past and with what we know now how we could have done things differently, perhaps, using mental toughness and wisdom that we’ve gained through the years.
  • Mistakes make us better coaches.

Add your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.