Staying positive on a long race where you are on the go for 10, 20, 30 or more hours is important but often difficult. The problem is though that when you are feeling negative it does affect you physically so if you are able to stay positive then it has many benefits.
There are many reasons for feeling negative
When you have thoughts like these and start thinking about quitting it can be quite difficult if not impossible to move to a positive mindset so my top tip is to try and move to a neutral state first.
One time I interviewed Andy DuBois, who is a running coach based in Australia, for the West Highland Way Podcast and when he outlined this strategy it made so much sense to me.
Basically Andy said that if you can move from a negative mindset to a neutral one then you have more chance to then move to a positive mindset.
For example last Saturday I ran the Hardmoors 55 and with 25 miles to go I got quite cold and made the mistake of not putting on an extra layer until I was really, really cold! It was definitely a low point in the race and my mind was starting to drift to negative thoughts which I needed to address quickly.
The main way that I use to get me to a neutral mindset is to count. Each time my right foot hits the ground I count 1 and keep going to a 100. Then I repeat on my left foot. I will also vary my counting by going 1,2 then 1,2,3 then 1,2,3,4 etc. I count down from 100. I have many different ways of counting!!
After I have done this for 10mins or I’m really feeling really negative a lot longer hopefully I have moved from that negative feeling to a neutral one and ready to see things in a better perspective and get going again with a more positive frame of mind.
You will need a find what works for you. My wife likes to plan out what she is going to wear the following week! I read once that an architect designs a house as he’s running. Being a simple sort of guy that would be way too taxing for me! So I’ll keep to my counting.
I hope this helps so next time you are on a run or in a race and you start feeling negative try counting or something similar to take your mind away from the negative thoughts and hopefully you will find that neutral mindset and then get back to feeling positive and enjoying the run!Happy thinking and running!