I’m 12 days away from my marathon, and find myself thinking about it pretty much 24/7. Sometimes I am really confident and can think positive thoughts about my training and the race; other times not so much.
Being that I am a mental health therapist and I am trained to help people overcome anxious and negative thoughts, I realized that maybe I should start listening to my own advice. Keep in mind that I work with kids, so these strategies are not only simple but fun too!
One of the things I talk about when we start identifying negative thoughts is that there are four types. We call them B-L-U-E thoughts which stands for “Blaming myself”, “Looking for bad news”, “Unhappy guessing”, and “Exaggerating”. Let’s break this down with some examples:
Blaming myself: I didn’t train hard enough. My training plan didn’t have enough long runs and weekly mileage. I should have done more speedwork.
Looking for bad news: When the race gets hard, I am going to give up. The hills are going to be harder than I remember. I’ll hit the wall and have to walk.
Unhappy guessing: The weather will probably be terrible. There will probably be a windy snowstorm in November with ice and rain too. Or it will be 95 degrees and humid.
Exaggerating: This race is going to feel like I am running for 12 hours. I am going to have a thousand blisters and more chafing than I ever experienced in my life.
Ok, that’s pretty ridiculous when you look at it written out. These are pretty drastic negative thoughts, but some are not that far off. So what do we do about it? We change our B-L-U-E thoughts to TRUE thoughts! Here are some tips when trying to make this change:
-What is the evidence?
-Is there another way to look at the situation?
-What would you tell a friend who had this thought?
-What if it is true? Would that really be so bad?
So for example, if I was thinking “The weather will probably be terrible. There will probably be a windy snowstorm in November with ice and rain too. Or it will be 95 degrees and humid”. I would ask myself those questions.
What is the evidence? There really isn’t any. It’s very unlikely that there will be a snowstorm or other crazy weather. Even less likely that it will be hot and humid.
Is there another way to look at the situation? Well, if the conditions were really that bad they would probably have to cancel the race.
What would you tell a friend who had this thought? Um, first of all chill out because you are being crazy. The weather won’t be that bad, and if it’s not perfect there’s not much you can do about it. Just dress appropriately for the conditions and you’ll be fine.
What if it is true? Will that really be so bad? I’ve run in tough conditions before, and I know I will survive. Not sure that I’ll finish with a smile on my face though.
So this is one strategy that I will be using to survive the taper. I also need to work on being able to use some strategies while I am running the race. I am actually a little more worried about the mental difficulties than the physical!
Do you start to get all up in your head before a race?
I’m also joining a new-to-me link up today “The Fit Dish” hosted by Jill at JillConyers.com Jessica at TheFitSwitch.org. The topic this week is: Does your mind wander? What do you think about when you run or workout? So head over there and see what everyone else thinks about while they are running and working out!