In my last post I talked about how I had lost and found motivation. Following from it I wanted to write a bit about positive self-talk and how to actually motivate yourself to stick through a tough workout or any other thing in your life. (side note; my surgery got postponed, hence I have been able to run). 🙂
I’m definitely not an expert and actually, quite surprisingly to myself, found that I really struggled with this whole self-talk thing. Whenever I’ve been training for a marathon I have read about other peoples blogs, instagram stories etc where they always talk about how mindset is everything. I mean I studied psychology and then sport psychology so I should really know this better than many people. In reality, I often fail to do this successfully myself. The positive impact of self-talk is well researched and proven to work in many instances (one study here,). Even when I grew up my mum always used to talk about the importance of self-talk and how it has to be positively worded. Basically, if you are stressed then you tell yourself “I’m relaxed” as opposed to “I’m not stressed” because “not stressed” has a negative word in it.
When it comes to running I’ve tried all sorts of mantras to keep myself going; “I feel strong, my legs feel light, I can do hard things” etc.. I have copied these from wherever I’ve read them but I’ve never really found them particularly useful. I tried them in Estonian as well (my native language) to see if that would make a difference but more often than not I felt like they weren’t working. I remember reading from Hungryrunnergirl’s blog (here) that when she was training for Boston marathon she kept repeating “Boston” during her tough intervals. I tried that when I was training for Paris and repeated “Paris, Paris Paris” like a maniac but I think it worked for one rep and then the effects soon disappeared.
As mentioned in my last post, I have become really good at skipping my tempo runs and during all the faster runs that have felt hard I’ve just kind of let myself slow down. I didn’t really know how to get out of this mindset and work hard again.. but I think I have found something that actually has worked. At least so far. Now I bet you all think this is something groundbreaking but it’s actually quite simple. I have decided to embrace the uncomfortable and become comfortable with it. I recently saw few different insta posts by people who have had recent success in a marathon and they had this in common; they used the phrase: “you have to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable”. It sounds so simple but it’s so true. I know for a fact that I can run a certain pace for a certain time but some days as soon as it gets a bit tough I give up. On my last three fast runs (tempo, hill training and interval), as soon as I felt uncomfortable I literally just repeated to myself “get used to this and become comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable” 😀 And it worked. I mean maybe this is just beginners luck and the effects will soon fade but for me I think this phrase is more than just a positive mantra. I genuinely believe in it and understand why it’s so important to go through these uncomfortable patches in training as on race day (especially in a marathon) there will be multiple uncomfortable times where it’s so much easier to just give up but if you’ve taught your body to embrace it and be comfortable then you’ll nail it. I mean a comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there right 😉
Would love to hear your thoughts on this?
Have a great rest of the week and embrace the uncomfortable!