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Mental Toughness on the Appalachian Trail - The “What if” situations…

A thru-hike more than anything else is a mental challenge. It is being alone with your thoughts every single day, it is dealing with the routine, the weather, it’s being positive and upbeat when you don’t want to be. It’s being determined, focused and working hard to achieve your goal.

It’s going to be hard, challenging and also a life changing experience, which will test me.

Which is what I want. I want to be tested, I want to challenge, my physical body and see where my mind takes me while I’m completing it.

I want to learn about myself, what drives me, what makes me tick. I want to be open to the experience. I want to learn from it and to be able to share what I’ve learned with others.

For me I am very conscious I have set myself a huge challenge. To do the trail in 100 days. I will need to be averaging 22 miles a day - there’s no getting away from it, it’s going to be a challenge. It is going to be tough, and I need to be as prepared as I can for what is going to happen while on the trail so I know in advance I can handle it.

Doing the “what if” exercise is a very powerful way to get you and your mind comfortable with what could happen.

Doing this exercise allows you to think through all of the potential, problems and issues you may face.

In a safe environment and you can run through all the solutions, and think about how you would handle it. So when something like this does come up on the trail, you’ll have already thought it all through.

I reached out to the Tough Girl Tribe, to get their input about all the situations I could face on the trail.

Please comment below if you think I have missed anything out.

In general, I would keep calm, take a few deep breathes and analysis the situation I was faced with. I would make a plan of action and follow it through.

I would ask for help if I needed it and I would not put myself at risk. I would follow my gut and my instincts and apply common sense to the situation I was in. I would learn from it and be better prepared in the future.

You can’t prepare for every eventuality. You can only do so much preparation and part of the experience and part of the learning process is facing the unknown, it’s seeing how you would handle these situations.

I would handle it, because it’s my problem to handle. It’s my choice to do this challenge, and my responsibility to deal with any issues that could arise.


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