Something that I say all the time is you have to be comfortable at being uncomfortable so I was not surprised to read an article in The New York Times that reviewed a recent study which provided scientific evidence that positive self talk increases how hard you can actually push yourself.
I will not get into the details of the study so if you want to read it, click here. What I do want to do is stress the fact that if you are continually putting yourself down, that is where you will go – Down. When I first started running I ran well and I loved it. It was not long before I was running with the more elite runners of my running group and holding paces I never thought possible. However, when I would race I did not perform as I did in my training. I should have been running way faster but for some reason I just could not keep the pace I had trained at. The reason? Because every time I was passed by someone, or I would feel tired, or something would feel hard or I would cramp I would tell myself I sucked and that I was not good enough to be there.
I realized this bad habit of mine about 8 years ago and I have since made huge changes in my self talk which has resulted in even greater changes in my ability to push myself. When I am tired I tell myself I am supposed to feel tired, that I am working hard and this feeling is right. When someone passes me I tell myself I am running my own race and not to let it bother me. I always make sure that I am doing the best that I can.
It’s difficult to stay positive. It is in those moments that I can feel myself giving up, not because my body cannot do it but because I am telling my body it cannot do it. In your own training you need to stay positive. When you are tired, accept the fact that you are working hard and if you were not tired something would be wrong. Transform your negative thoughts into positive ones and be kind to yourself. Tell yourself you can do it and you have the strength to do it and when you are feeling uncomfortable, embrace it and ask for more.