Everybody can usually think of a couple of occasions when we have talked ourselves out of doing something. When our mindset is negative, maybe through fear of rejection, fear of failure, lack of confidence in our ability, for example.
Once you let this negative mindset set in, you can start to fight a losing battle. This can be applied to a variety of scenarios, but here, I’m going to apply it to exercise and how It can affect performance.
Two examples of when I have struggled and let a negative mindset destroy a workout:
- During a Marathon (2015), i had struggled with a Hip injury throughout training. I was determined to keep my training up to be able to take part, which I did, however what I failed to take into account was the psychological affect of injury and how to deal with it during a race. The minute my injury kicked in at mile 16 (10 left!), It was game over, my head went down, I was fed up, thinking of how far I had left to go, and how much extra time it would now take etc. My mindset had flipped into negative mode and I spent almost the next two hours thinking how rubbish I felt… that is NOT the way to race!
- Personal Best at weight lifting – In the past I have added a couple extra KG’s to a bar for a Deadlift. I know the weight is now heavier than I have lifted before. My mindset turned against me, I told myself before I have even approached the bar that I will not be able to lift it…needless i say, I didn’t.
Mindset: Stop yourself from saying “I can’t” and “I won’t be able to”
How you do this is entirely down to the individual. Personally, I use training mantras for longer distance running. These are short sentences or just a few words “strong legs”, “pump the arms” that i’ll repeat in my head to keep me focussed. As simple as they sound, trust me in a race you don’t want to try to recall a paragraph of text!
Visualisation is an extremely popular method of picturing yourself running well, lifting weights with good form the days prior to an event, or even minute before the event itself makes all of the difference. It help you to feel strong and confident, as opposed to worried and fearful of failing.
Think what approach would work best for you, and factor this in to your training sessions. Stay positive, honestly it really helps!