1 Set Goals
Anything from “I want to be able to run 5km” to “I want to run Comrades next year” could motivate you for a long period of time. “I want to beat my time trial PB next month” could be equally as motivating. You should be passionate and committed to the goal.
2 Reward your achievements
Whatever your goal, write it down, work towards it and on completion honour your commitment. A reward could be anything: For small goals treat yourself to a health breakfast; for major goals buy yourself those running shoes you’ve been dreaming of.
3 Use affirmation and mantras
Affirmations are short powerful sentences, like a mantra, that develop confidence and build success. Affirm positive thoughts everyday. Use mantras when running to replace negatives and cope with tough patches, eg “this too shall pass”, or “I will have a great run today.”
Visualise the whole event in advance, arriving early and calm. See yourself overcoming potential problems and stressful situations, running the perfect race, crossing the line feeling great and receiving the medal in the time you desire.
5 Listen to your body
Your mind will trick you into NOT training. A signal saying you are fatigued could be an excuse not to train or it could mean you are exhausted. Look to your training logbook for the correct answer. If you are training harder but your times are slower, beware of burning out.
6 Anchor yourself
If you’re not running well, ‘anchor’ your thoughts and feelings to a time when you were. When your body is really aching you focus externally, to the scenery, etc., away from the pain.
7 Be there now
Total absorbtion in running happens when you are in the ‘now.’ Lose yourself in the moment. Running is an opportunity to leave day-to-day worries behind, not manifest them into bigger problems.
8 Break it up
Break up a race into small bite-sized pieces and it’s not so daunting: Arrive, register, warm up, start running, first water table, halfway, squeezy, last 2km, cross the line.
9 Think about the process and not the outcome
One reason for not finishing a run well is having outcome thoughts rather than process thoughts, playing the “what if…” game. Towards the end of a run, remind yourself how you got that far, by thinking of the process of running, not the outcome of the race.
10 Have fun
Don’t get too caught up in your enthusiasm and the perceived need to keep improving. On the journey up the performance ladder it’s easy to forget why you started running in the first place. If you’re not having fun then something is wrong.