As runners we tend to concentrate solely on our physical state. Some of us might also take our diet more seriously than most, but very few runners will give their mental state a second thought.
With psychologists arguing that your mental state is as important as you physical one especially if you intend racing, isn't it about time we practiced thinking like Champions?
We've compiled these top tips below
Improving Performance Through Positive Self-Talk
As runners, we work on our physical state but do nothing to improve our mental state. Practicing a few simple exercises can improve your state of mind and you running performance!
"You see, those kinds of things should be self-governed and I didn't handle them very well. The pressure got to me because I allowed it to. There were lots of athletes like Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses who coped with it. It (the pressure) was constant, day after day. Like a tourniquet. The closer it got the harder it was to relaxâ€?
Steve Scott Former World 1500m record holder
"All pressure is self-inflicted. It's what you make of it, or how you let it rub off on you."
Seb Coe, Olympic 1500m champion
Self-talk is the internal dialogue we constantly have with ourselves. It is the time we spend mentally talking to ourselves.
The uses for self-talk are:
1. For Changing Bad Habits - Do you ever say you can't do something?
2. For Focusing - What do you do if you get distracted before or during a session, or during a race?
3. For Changing Mood - What do you do if you don't feel right on the day of the race?
4. For Controlling Effort - Everyone gets tired in training or competition, but do you mentally tell yourself to work harder when you have to, or have an easier ride?
Identifying self-talk through a self-talk log
In your running log, make a note of your mental state and address the following questions:
1. When I talk to myself what do I say?
2. What thoughts precede and accompany my good performance?
3. How frequently am I talking to myself?
4. When performing badly do I put myself down?
Techniques for controlling self-talk
There are two simple techniques for controlling self-talk:
1. Changing Negative Thoughts to Positive Thoughts
Changing negative thoughts to positive thoughts will provide encouragement and redirects attention.
How can you turn negatives into positives?
|“It is difficult for me....”
||“It is a challenge for me....”
||“I can.....if / provided I.....”
|“I only.../ I hope.../ I trust that...”
|“I’m worried about.....”
||“I’ll be okay if.....”
Changing negative statements to positive one's won't achieve change if you still believe in the negative statement.
Countering is an internal dialogue that uses facts and reason to refute underlying beliefs that cause negative thinking.
When using counters, describe the evidence necessary to change your belief or attitude. The more evidence and logic, the better. For example, â€œI can complete the London Marathon without stopping because I've trained hard for six months and I ran 20 miles last Sunday on my ownâ€?.