I’m typing this with wet feet from a run – a feeling I think we all will have to get used to this season! What I’ve been thinking about recently is how much our mindset can affect our performances. I know we’ve discussed this before, but I specifically wanted to call out the mindset of confidence. I’m not talking about braggy, show-boaty confidence, but deep, quiet, inner confidence.
We live in a culture that values humility. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good to keep our striving and accomplishments in perspective. But it doesn’t hurt if your deep deep inner voice believes you are great.
I recently experienced this voice and was glad it showed up when it did. I had been training for a half ironman. I blasted my training hard out of the gates and was not too long after sidelined with lingering fatigue, anemia and a hamstring injury. I hobbled along for 6-7 weeks, dropping my running mileage to a third of my usual and not being able to complete tempos, workouts or long runs. At one point, as I dropped out of yet another tempo after 10 minutes, my coach questioned me – “How long is this race you’re doing again? Are you sure you can complete it?” I had no clue. I stopped trying to test myself and just approached the race with a sense of curiosity and the usual race day excitement (because I really do like racing).
As I was getting to the end of the bike portion in the race, I started to think about the run. Welp, just see what happens. Then the strangest thing happened. As I started to run, I heard a voice in my head that said “You’re so fit. You got this”. Obviously, this was not my conscious thinking as I had no business believing that, but that was the deep deep inner voice that was programmed in. It kept coming up as I was running, “You’re so good. This is your event. This feels great. You’re fit and fast”. And somehow my body believed it. I ran faster over 21km than I’d been able to run for 10 minutes in training. I’m not saying I was a world champion or anything, but I do think I outperformed my actual abilities that day thanks to that voice which I didn’t even know was going to be there for me.
So. For those of you training, program that voice in. It may feel uncomfortable to sound that egotistical, but no one will hear you but you. Go over the top. “You are the best. You are fast. You are fit. You are strong. You are so tough. You are ready for this. This is what you love and do.” Find something that works for you, and don’t be humble. This sport has enough humility waiting for you – this is your defence against it bringing you down. (and by the way, studies have shown that speaking to yourself in the third person works best – so it’s “you are” not “I am” – you are telling yourself how it is).
For those of you racing, have some phrases at the ready if you haven’t been practicing to have them pop up automatically. Because there might be a competing voice that pipes up at times telling you something different. Drown it out. Your body is listening to what your brain is saying. Smother it with confidence. You area fit, you are fast, you are strong, you are ready. Let’s do this!!!!
Workout for tomorrow – 6:15 am GO time at Lakeshore and Leslie (so if you want to do some warm-ups, try to get there a little earlier)
- 1 mile tempo, (2 min), 2 x 800 (1:45), 2 x 600 (1:30), 2 x 400 (1:15) – all progressively faster
- If you’re tapering: Option 1: sleep in if you need it. Option 2: 1 mile at race pace, 2 x 800 a touch faster but no straining
We’ll get back to hills next week.
Have fun all – YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!