There are many, many of us runners who have set out into a race with out sights and hopes high, only to hit a snag somewhere along the way. Suddenly, our positive mindset has turned and is battling against every thought with doubt and dread, flooding our brainwaves with “no, I can’t/won’t” thoughts.
As runners, this is normal to experience. It certainly can be frustrating and leave a damper on race day. Just like your physical endurance, your mental endurance can be trained as well. Training your mind for those frustrating race moments will be one of your biggest strengths on race day. For starters, here are some common negative thought patterns… and some positive thoughts to replace them with so that you can push forward to crush that race ahead of you!
At the Starting Line
Negative: These people look faster than me!
Positive: I’ve put in the best training that I could have. I’ll give it my all!
Negative: I should have trained harder for this race!
Positive: I woke up early, put in many hours, and stayed dedicated to my training. I’ll finish what I started!
Negative: I forgot to pack [something].
Positive: I’ll concentrate on the task ahead of me and the things I can control at this point.
During the Race
Negative: I forgot to get X at the last aid station! This is going to be so bad!
Positive: There is another aid station ahead. I’ll make sure to get it there, or ask another runner if they have any to spare along the way.
Negative: This blister is going to be the end of me!
Positive: I can get this patched at the next aid station. I am still strong and prepared!
Negative: I’m going to let my crew/pacers down if I don’t get X time on this.
Positive: I’m going to focus on putting my best effort forward; I know my crew/pacers will help me do this.
Negative: I’m never going to recover from losing my stomach!
Positive: I have plenty of food and electrolyte options at the next aid station that will help me replenish.
Negative: I went the wrong way! I lost so much time off course!
Positive: I got my money’s worth! I got to experience more than everybody else! I’ll focus on reeling these runners back in, one place at a time.
Negative: This weather sucks.
Positive: If I can stay positive through this weather, I’ll have an advantage on everybody that is doubting themselves in it.
Negative: My crew is missing from this aid station!
Positive: I know myself, and these aid station volunteers will be able to help me sort though my thoughts to get the right aid.
After the Race
Negative: I ran slower than I wanted to!
Positive: I gave my best effort today, and still wound up beating X amount of people.
Negative: I should have done [something] differently out there.
Positive: I have a new goal and strategy to focus on for my next race.
Negative: There’s no way I’m ever going to [run a certain time/podium/BQ/PR].
Positive: I have more training and racing experience than previously, and know how I can get even better for next time.
When was a time where you had to overcome negative thoughts on the run? What did you do, and how did it turn out?