Do you find yourself wishing your pace was faster or that you could be as consistent as someone else? It’s easy when starting or maintaining a running routine to compare yourself to others and place unrealistic standards on yourself.
The good news? It’s not just you! The National Science Foundation suggests that 80% of the thoughts we have are negative and 95% of our thoughts are repetitive. That means most of the thoughts we have are negative and repetitive.
What does this mean? It means that it’s natural for our minds to go toward the negative, yet when you’re stuck in a negative thought cycle, it’s difficult to see what’s there to celebrate as you focus on what to critique.
What’s important is that we practice getting out of those negative thoughts so that we can see the moments of joy and progress that are right in front of us.
Reframing unhelpful thinking patterns can help you feel better and help you better handle challenges, in turn, you’ll be better able to crush your running goals.
Here are a few ideas of helpful ways to intervene and change your running mindset when you’re stuck on negative thoughts:
You can journal each morning or evening, or simply just take a few minutes each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for.
Some have a gratitude jar where they write down 1-2 things per day that they are grateful for and place them in the jar. It’s fun to go back and read them every few months!
Talk to an empathetic friend or be your own!
Friends can often help us see the positive that we overlook ourselves.
You can also do this yourself: try talking to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. We are much more compassionate to others than we are to ourselves!
Practice noticing negative thoughts and reframing them.
For example, if I think to myself today, “My pace was slower this week than last week. I’m never going to get faster.” I can reframe this to, “My pace may not have been what I wanted it to be today, but I will continue my training and know I will progress!”.
The goal is not to eliminate our negative thoughts. That’s impossible and trying to do so can cause more anxiety. The goal is to be aware of them and reframe them to our advantage.
Make time each week to reflect on the progress you’ve made.
If we don’t take time to reflect on where we are and where we’ve been, we will miss the progress!
Purposefully schedule time into your week to reflect and celebrate your successes, no matter the size.
I enjoy writing down my successes on post-it notes around my office. That way, when I’m working and find myself stuck in a negative spiral, I can quickly find my celebrations and shift my mindset.
When you reframe your thoughts, you are better able to celebrate and set realistic expectations. In turn, this will better help you reach your goals and have fun doing it!
"Look for the good in every situation, seek the valuable lesson in every setback, look for the solution to every problem. Think and talk continually about your goals." - Brian Tracy
Running mindset work is a large part of the work I do with runners. If you find yourself struggling with negative thought cycles and constant comparisons, book a free introductory call. We’ll chat for 30 minutes, talk about your running goals, what mindset challenges you’re facing, what you need to do differently to achieve them and find joy in doing so. If it feels like a good fit, we’ll talk about what it could look like to work together.