Have you seen those bad-ass runners that hit the streets rain or shine, 52 weeks a year? They’re tough as nails and they should scare the crap out of you. Those men and women are true runners. They have the guts of Steve Prefontaine and the grit of John Wayne.

Toughness comes with conquering your fears and believing in yourself. Toughness is a result of early morning runs, late night runs after a long day at work, and heading outside for a run when everyone else looks for extra blankets. Don’t fool yourself, you’re capable of far more than you think you are.

Mental toughness is spartanism with qualities of sacrifice, self-denial, dedication. It is fearlessness, and it is love. -Vince Lombardi

It’s hard to leave the comfort of your home and head out into the cold, dark night. But, if it was easy, it wouldn’t mean as much. Each time you complete a training run, you’ve notched another victory and become just a bit tougher.

New Hampshire Boston Marathon

Music helps. I like to crank up the tunes while I get dressed for my run. It’s become a ritual. Tights, long-sleeved layer, wool socks, an outer shell, Vaseline on the bridge of my nose and cheeks bones, hat, mittens, and running shoes.

The first mile is a bitch. But, I hit my stride in mile two and start to enjoy myself. Passing quiet homes with the blue light of flickering televisions, I can’t help feel a bit superior to my plodding and lethargic neighbors. Breath in, breathe out.

By the time I reach home, the freezing temperatures feel comfortable. I take off my hat and walk around outside until I begin to cool down. Entering the house, I’m greeted by smiles and barks and the smell of good food. I walk through the door feeling like a new man. Calmer, more confident, and at peace with the world.

The spring racing season is just a few months away. I’ll be ready. Will you?

Thoughts?