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Last weekend we were in PEI. We do an annual camping trip there on the long weekend in August. We spend some time with our family, lay on the beach, do some bicycling, celebrate Rick’s birthday and attend the Brookvale Ultra Trail Race.
Brookvale was Coach Rick’s first ultra distance race. He decided to run 30 miles for his 30th birthday, and we just keep going back every year since. It's such a fun event. And approachable as a first trail race. It was Rick’s first ultra, then the first ultra he actually raced the year after, and then the following year it was my first 25k.
This year I ran the 10k, and it was the first race I set a goal for (usually I’m pretty happy to just finish). I am happy to say I crushed my goal. I wanted to finish in 1.5 hours and I came in at 1hr 33min. I’m still pumped about this.
Now, on the surface you might look at this and say “what?”. But you set a goal of 1hr 30min. And you are saying that you met that goal. But you missed it be 3 minutes. This doesn’t make any sense!
But it does make sense. In running, as in life, the outcome is not always the most important thing. It is about the journey, and more specifically the actions you take to get there. Rick has written about this before about his training, and talks with athletes about it a lot.
It’s really about a shift in mindset.
I have learned a really effective practice from working with my coach. We call it “Everything is always working out for me”. The idea behind this is that you are always looking for the positive. It is a choice to focus on the positive in a situation rather than the negative and it gets easier the more you practice it.
A couple weeks ago on the blog I talked about breaking the negativity habit on the blog. This is a great way to start identifying when you are being negative if this is a state you usually jump to.
The next step is to remember to practice “everything is always working out for me”. Each time you do this you are strengthening the neural pathway using the positive response.
This response to my race finish is 100% attributed to the time I have spent practicing a positive mindset habit.
Putting it into practice
You can start cultivating this habit by taking some time just thinking about what is working our for you. With each item you list you are strengthening that neural pathway. If you are into journaling the practice of writing solidifies and makes it even more real.
It will be easiest in the beginning to do this when you are already feeling good.
With repetition you will become able to look at a situation or event or feeling you are having and make the choice to be positive rather than negative in the moment. When you can do this it will be like you stepped off the emotional rollercoaster, it will be easier for you to stay in positive emotion.
There was a time that I would have finished the race last weekend and been quite upset that I was 3 minutes slower than my goal. I would have immediately went to the negative and said I failed. And this didn’t happen! I was thrilled with how I performed that day. I pushed myself just a bit harder than I am comfortable with, and not too hard that I blew up. I stuck to my hydration and nutrition strategy and made some adjustments as I was going along that worked based on the conditions of the day. And I was mostly positive the whole time. Doubts creeped in a couple times and when they did I identified them and chose not to engage in the negative talk.
By investing some time in practicing “Everything is always working out for me” you will build that muscle of looking for what is working. You will step off the emotional roller coaster and be able to stay in positive emotion by choice. You will start seeing things from a glass half full perspective.
I experienced the results of this practice in the moment last weekend, by being happy about my race rather than upset I missed my time goal by 3 minutes.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, we strongly believe in a holistic approach to training. Having a training schedule is important to being able to optimize your bodies ability to run at a high level. Running puts a considerable amount of stress on your body, and this affects you both physically and mentally.
Working on mental habits helps you more easily incorporate training into your everyday life. By working on positivity and stepping off the emotional rollercoaster you will be able to act with more clarity every day, both in training and in your job and family life.
Let me know what you think about this. Have you tried this exercise before? Are you interested in trying it now? We are always here to talk it through. If you have more questions you can leave a comment here, or you can hit reply and send me an email.
With all my love,
PS – if you are interested in learning more about habit building and mindset change, head on over to our facebook and join our free group challenge that is going on right now “Building the Endurance Mind-Set”. It has already started, but you can jump in on any challenge, a new one starts each week.
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