Positive Self-Talk While Running

Many runners sabotage their races before they begin. Before they take one step off the start line, they ensure disappointment at the end of the race and confusion about what went wrong. The truth is that these runners’ failures have nothing to do with their physical conditioning, but rather result from not engaging in positive self-talk while running. The pressures and anxieties of a race prove too much for these runners and they respond with negative thoughts and emotions and a feeling that failure is imminent.

All runners know the common phrases of negative self-talk, “I just hope I finish” or “my training has been horrible,” or “this race will be a disaster,” or simply, “I’m screwed.” These types of thoughts have the tendency to become a self-fulfilling prophesy, thus guaranteeing a bad race.

When your pre-race routine is filled with negativity, you will think back to your thoughts when you feel any negative emotion during the race and say, “Yep, this what I expected.” The negative thoughts will then build on each other until your race is completely destroyed.

So how can you combat negative thoughts and emotions before a race? The answer is to use positive self-talk while running. Positive self-talk consists of brief words or phrases you say and repeat to yourself when you feel negative thoughts coming into your head. For example, you might say, “Today is a great day,” or “I believe in myself” or “I am ready,” or “I am going to race awesome,” or simply, “Breathe, Relax.”

You might think these phrases sound a little cheesy, but it is so important to put positive thoughts in your head instead of negative ones. When the race starts, use these phrases whenever you feel bad thoughts or emotions come into your mind. This mental technique might help get you through the rough parts of a race and finish strong.


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