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6 mental tricks to make you a more confident runner

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If you struggle with confidence, you’re not alone. A lot of runners prepare for weeks or months for their goal race, only to sabotage themselves with negative self-talk and self-doubt. A little confidence can take your race from good to great, so use these tricks as you prepare for your next goal race to strengthen your mind along with your body.

Runners stand on the line

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Ditch weak words

Instead of saying “I think I can do it,” say “I know I can do it,” or “I believe I can do it.” Rather than “I’m going to try my best,” say “I’m going to do my best.” Small changes like those remove all doubt from the phrase and put you in the driver’s seat.

Flip your negative assumptions

Maybe you’ve never had an amazing finishing kick, or hills haven’t always been your strong suit. When we come up against something that we struggle with, we tend to immediately file that in the “I’m bad at this” drawer, and that’s that. By pulling those negative assumptions out and flipping them around, you will build confidence and be a better runner. Try saying “I’m going to give it everything I’ve got at the end of the race, no matter how slow or fast that is,” or “I’m going to attack the hill to the best of my ability.” Repeat that over and over again until you believe it.

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Picture a time when you succeeded

Bad races or workouts tend to stick in our heads and erode our self-confidence, so as you train for your next goal race, make the effort to picture times when you ran really well. Maybe there was a time when you crushed your kilometre repeats, or maybe on a long run you felt like you could run forever. Focus on the times when you succeeded to remind yourself that you’ve accomplished your goals in the past and you can do so again.

Get off Strava

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Have you ever come in from a run you felt really great about, then gone on Strava and saw someone else who ran longer and faster and immediately felt less accomplished? Apps like Strava can be great for connecting with other runners and tracking your progress, but can become negative when you fall into the comparison trap. If this often happens to you, it’s time to set the phone down, ignore what others are doing and bask in the glow of a job well done.

Dress for success

It may sound trivial, or even superficial, but wearing clothes that you feel good in can go a long way toward making you more confident. So put on your favourite running tights, buy your favourite T-shirt in every colour, and look good to feel good.

Trust your training

In the days leading up to their goal race, many runners worry if they’ve done enough or if they could have done more. If you’ve trained consistently and put in the work, you have to trust on race day that you’re ready to go. Repeat phrases like “I’ve worked hard for this and I’m ready,” to remind yourself that you’ve got what it takes to succeed.

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