This is a long but important post and has taken me a week or so to write as I wanted it to make as much sense as possible.
Please let me know what you think 🤔
It’s easy to get caught up in all the Tempo sessions, intervals and long runs but many runners and coaches agree that a massive portion of a runners success comes down to mental factors.
A great example is how do you have the strength and endurance to one day run 10 miles to only the next session struggle to finish a 5 miler.
The negative thoughts that come from that 5 mile session usually begin to trigger self doubt, by understanding that thoughts, feelings and performance are interrelated. You can start to gain control.
I think what brings supreme confidence is when you have been in a miserable hole where everything hurts for a long period of time and you don’t think you can do it and you push on through.
2016 I completed Ironman UK, I properly bonked on the bike and my IT band went about mile 80.
I struggled with the rest of the bike leg sorting out my fuelling and mainly using one leg.
The demons were fighting in my head, it was ridiculous idea to then try and run 26.2 miles but I’m stubborn ( mentally tough ) or stupid. I went out and completed the marathon in just over 5 hours I didn’t hardly bend my right leg and suffered the whole way about mile 20 because I was running like that I pulled my groin and walked the last 5 miles.
I did it and it added to my mental strength and confidence.
So coming into the Viking 100 I knew that as long as I didn’t get injured I was going to finish it regardless. Some of that is down to good race day execution and some confidence. PS I hadn’t run more than 47 miles and was a mental battle!
Here are the 3 steps..... Thinking, feeling and performing.
Before you even head out, are you happy about the distance your about to cover? Are you thinking about how good you will feel during and after? Or are you dreading it, thinking about everything else you would rather be doing? Maintaining positive thoughts before and during a run is the first step to gain control over your performance.
As you are preparing for your run and identifying your thoughts, determine your emotional state. Are you excited for the run? Do you feel a sense of personal challenge with the distance you are set to run? Do you feel confident in your abilities? Or are you anxious, nervous, worried, and stressed about the mileage you are about to tackle? Maintaining positive emotions before and during the run is the second step to gain control over your performance.
Having positive thoughts and feelings as you begin a run will set you up for success. It may not result in a PB, but you are in a much better position to have an enjoyable experience with a good mindset. Your thoughts can influence your feelings, and your feelings can then influence how you perform. Once you get into the run, one strong mile will lead to more positive thoughts, more confident feelings, and more miles run. Also, negative thoughts usually lead to negative feelings, and ultimately, terrible runs.
Overcoming the Common Struggles
If you find yourself struggling on some runs, take a moment to identify your current thought. Chances are it will be a negative, self defeating thought that is making you feel anxious, unfocused, and question your abilities. Instead of trying to fix physical or technical problems that may not be causing the poor performance, change your thoughts to something positive, optimistic, and confidence-enhancing. This will help you feel good about yourself and get you back to business when you hit the streets.
What are some of your tips for staying positive?