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Powerful Self-Talk

November 27th, 2007 · No Comments


The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer

“You are more capable of more than you have ever thought possible.” (Whitsett, Dolgener, and Kole)

You can be an athlete, runner and a marathoner- even if you’ve never run before. The authors offered a marathon class 5 times at the University of Northern Iowa with over 200 participants and all but one completed the marathon! Most had never run more than 5 miles and none had ever finished a marathon. The focus of the book is on the psychological benefits of running and teaching yourself new mental tools to remain focused throughout the marathon and training period of 16 weeks.

One of the best parts of this book is that each chapter is broken down into three parts, psychological, physical, and preparation (nutrition, stretching, fluid intake). Each chapter offers one KEY concept in the psychological trainings in teaching yourself how to complete a marathon. Most running books, or even cycling books don’t focus on the mental aspects at all! I feel that this is the most important part of completing a marathon or any endurance event. I can remember times during races where I actually talked myself out of racing. I can also remember times when I talked myself through a race. One poignant turning point in my cycling career came early on- like -my first United States Cycling Federation race (USCF).

I had been racing collegiate for two years before I entered any public events. Back in those days, women were lumped together in one race. Beginners with the pros. So, I was racing against Pamela Schuster, who went to the Olympics!! AHHH, if that doesn’t freak you out, what does? Anyway, my goal was to stay in the race. It was the Glendale Criterium, and it was a really tight half mile circle, and I did fine for about half the race, and suddenly, the pack just rolled away from me. Oh, No! I did NOT want to get dropped in my first Criterium, with all my friends watching me!! NO NO NO. Then, my mind changed gears, and all I could think about was that they were slowing DOWN! That’s it. The pack was slowing down for me! FOCUS!!!! Guess what, I caught back on to the group and finished the race in the pack, AWESOME!

Powerful self-talk is one of the best ways to talk yourself through difficult situations in a race. The authors of the book, The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer, did a lot of research in the psychological areas of marathon training which I find fascinating. They ask you (reader) to write down two short paragraphs describing a run (or ride) in a positive way. Such as, “I am fit, fast, and light as a feather. My legs are strong and I climb that the wind and I weigh 135 pounds.” or “I am finishing the marathon strong! I can raise my hands on the finish line and SMILE at the camera. I am proud of myself and I can do anything.” The purpose for the self-talk is to talk yourself through difficult situations, particularly during long endurance events when you are bound to be tired and achy. The rule is to change your programming and focus on the positive. Also, focusing on the positive allows your body to achieve it! Focus on the negative and try to make your body do something different will confuse the signals you are sending and screw you up!

This is just one powerful technique from this book. More to come! If you have stories to share, please do! Post a comment. I would love to hear how you focus during long events or even short ones!

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