Friday, March 1, 2013

No Negative Thoughts

Is it really Friday already? Seems like this week flew by! I’m definitely not complaining, that’s for sure.  I’ve been taking it easy this week and trying to recover slowly after running the Rock n Roll New Orleans Marathon on Sunday. I’m looking forward to a laid back weekend, hoping to get a few things accomplished around the house.

Even though I’m in recovery mode (and feeling kind of lazy), I decided to take my dog out for a run/bike ride on Tuesday.


She loved running as fast as possible while I pedaled….I think we found our new “thing”!  I only rode 2 miles on Tuesday because I just wanted to loosen things up a bit…and it was such a beautiful day, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!


Last night, I took the bike out again for a 5 mile spin followed by a 1 mile walk with both dogs. Two dogs…one me….let’s just say we had quite an adventure.

As I was riding my bike, I began thinking back to the Marathon and various thoughts that went through my mind while running the race.

I remembered having to combat thoughts of doubt several times during the race. I realized that I also had to do the same thing during the Louisiana Half Marathon just one month prior.

Each time thought “I’m not going to reach my goal” or each time “I can’t” arose in my mind, my running coach’s pre-marathon mantra floated through my mind – NO NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done, coach!

We’ve all heard the phrase “Running is 90% mental” and if you’ve ever run a Marathon (Half or Full), you know this to be true. I have devised a plan to combat negative thoughts so I’m not caught off guard next time they arise:

  • Have a positive phrase you can rely on when those thoughts arise. 
    I wear a Team 413 bracelet on my wrist during every Half/Full I run. It simply says “I can do ALL things” (taken from Philippians 4:13).  I like having a reminder in such a visible area – it really helps when the race begins to wear on me and my mind starts to wander.      
  • Keep your playlist full of positive and upbeat songs.
    If you run with music, having songs that are uplifting will help keep you going strong. My newest favorite is “Keep Your Eyes Open” by Need to Breathe. It began to play on my iPod at the perfect moment during the Rock n Roll NOLA Marathon and gave just the boost I needed! Love it when that happens! :0)
  • Look to the crowd for support! Depending on the size of the race, spectators will be around to cheer runners on. I like to read their signs as I pass by – really helps take my mind off the race
  • Focus on your surroundings.
    If you are running a race in a new area, take the opportunity to enjoy the view. Look at it as a quick sightseeing tour, minus the “official” guide!
  • Make new friends!
    If you’ve been running near/behind/beside someone for a while, strike up a conversation. You never know who you might meet….it’s a possible Facebook friend/twitter follower in the making!
  • Break the race up into smaller parts in your mind.
    Telling yourself “I’m halfway finished” or “Just a 5K to go” helps the race not seem as overwhelming.
  • Possibly the most important of them all….Don’t forget to have FUN!
    If the race isn’t going the way you want it to go, don’t let it get you down. Instead, slow down and enjoy it! Take pictures, make new friends, don’t pressure yourself – a wise person once told me “There will always be another race”. Don’t beat yourself up….if you don’t reach your goal or perform to the best of your ability, remember….there will always another race. Besides, signing up for another race gives you another opportunity to earn a medal. Isn’t it all about the bling, anyway?
Now it’s your turn! I want to know what you do when negative thoughts or thoughts of doubt begin to arise during a race! Do you have a favorite saying? How about a tip I didn’t list? Share your thoughts!


  1. The best thing to think about when I am racing is my training! I work really hard and follow specific training plans before my races. Knowing that I am ready really helps during the not so fun times of a race! Not every race is run for a PR!

    1. That's a great thing to focus on and remind yourself of! I love it! You are right...unfortunately, not every race is a PR.

  2. I can't tell you how much I love this post! RnR was a tough race and there was definitely a lot of negative thoughts going on in my brain. I didn't really have a set time goal so there wasn't much pressure there but just the psychological aspect of running 26.2 miles is daunting. My favorite verse that I remember throughout the race is Isaiah 40:31:

    but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

    Off to check out your race recap!! :)

    1. I agree completely, that was a tough race. I love that verse as well! There was a group of about 3 or 4 people with shirts that had that verse on the really helped to see that during the race. Congrats again on your accomplishment!!

  3. LOVE this post! I do some of the same things as you! And I wear the SAME Team 413 it! In last year's Nola marathon around mile 14 I started saying really loud, "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me!" to my running partners. Some spectators on the side of the road yelled out "yes!" to me! It was just what I needed! :-)

    1. How funny that we wear the same bracelet! Love it! The crowd support sounds awesome, too! Love that they were encouraging you while you were encouraging them!

  4. This is such an awesome post!!! It is so hard to be positive a lot of the time, especially when you are in a long race! All wonderful ideas!

    1. Thanks, Victoria! I agree, it is's nice to have something else to focus on during those rough patches!

  5. Love this!! I can do all things is my go-to phrase as well. And breaking the race up helps me too. Sometimes I start (trying) to sing whatever song is on my iPod. When I focus on singing, I don't focus as much on the negative because it creeps in.

  6. Great post! I struggle with negativity sometimes too.

    1. Thanks! I think it's definitely something a lot of runners deal with!


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