Keeping motivated in your training is key. If you are not motivated then you struggle with your training and might not reach your targets.
There is no doubt that runners thrive on high levels of confidence. Indeed, self-confidence can be the difference between success and failure given the fine margins that exist in running. Despite this, we must acknowledge that self-confidence is like a rollercoaster that fluctuates between high and low. This blog identifies 12 key steps in raising your own levels of self-confidence and not to fall into the dreaded zone where you struggle and give up.
- Remember that somebody believes in you. This somebody could be a coach, manager, trainer or fellow club runner. They will have the belief in your ability that you currently may not have. There is no harm in asking them for reassurances.
- Think in positive ways at all times. Positivity can be developed by assessing each day (training) and competition sessions. Assess your own positivity through forms of achievement through technique, practice and movement. Thinking positively leads to better mind and body balance. Positive thinking enables the neural pathways within the mind to operate with clarity and purpose.
- Understand that it can be done. Embark on each task as a champion by having a clear and defined plan. Achieve your task step by step. Do not take on a big task and expect to complete it quickly. Have patience and believe in yourself. Rome was never built in a day.
- Stay in control of the controllable. Maintaining the controllable builds self-confidence because it provides you with a sense of focus and directive. Remember that you can never control what others are thinking/doing but you can control what you are achieving. There are a range of variables within running that can lead to performers losing sight of the controllable. External factors/influences will only hinder performance and must be beaten.
- Engage in mental preparation. One should work on engaging their mind onto each task they embark on. Mental preparation can follow many trends like, mindfulness, imagery, reflective thinking, positive self-talk, goal setting, meditation and concentration training amongst others. One should find a strategy that works for them and then use this to provide that inner desire to build confidence. There has been plenty of evidence within elite sport of the use of mental preparation. Mental preparation is useful as it can support the levels of self-confidence required to perform.
- Recall previous success. A mantra that I use is related to distance travelled. Think about previous successes that you have had. What did that feel like? How were your emotions during this time? Further, how confident did that make you feel? Recall is a positive mechanism to enable one to re-build confidence as it associates with belief.
- Performance must be consistent. Successful runners build confidence because they are consistent and appreciate the value of success. Consistency is like a habit that is formed through experience of situations. In other words, the more you do the better you become at the task in hand. Elite runners will work hard and do whatever to achieve their ultimate aim.
- Be constructive in own self-evaluation. Through self-evaluation one can become more effective at building self-confidence. Building your own level of evaluation will enable you to become critical. But it also enables you to build on this critique to create higher levels of confidence. Alex Ferguson suggested that he learnt more from losing than success. This is true of most successful performers as they use defeat/backward steps/rejection to fuel the fire to comeback stronger.
- Reflect positively following performances. There is no doubt that the more you reflect the better you become at practice/competition. Reflective practice relates to becoming aware of your strengths and identifying areas that you can improve. Therefore, logically the more you reflect the higher chance you will increase your self-confidence levels. For example, runners should use training and competition settings to reflect robustly.
- Continuously set short-term goals. Most runners suffer from low self-confidence because they allow the issue(s) to prolong and as a consequence fail to deal with problems head on. To overcome these issues, set short-term goals that will enable the flow of confidence (no matter how small) to start. Through constantly achieving your short-term goals you will build your levels of self-confidence like a snowball growing bigger. Short-term goals should be related to processes that can be achieved.
- Respect yourself and don’t be too harsh on own performances. Life is about trial and error. Runners should learn from the many challenges that they face. However, runners must not be too harsh and should take regular breaks when needed. Runners should eat well and sleep well. Runners should respect mind and body. It is through respect that runners can learn to rebuild confidence.
- Focus leads to natural confidence. When focused there is no doubt that body language is good. Therefore, runners should develop focus through appreciating what is required and build this through application. Runners should address concerns and tackle any issues early. Confidence building is about remaining resilient in the face of pressure.
There is nothing more tougher when you are on your long runs and your body is screaming to stop. Remember these 12 steps and work towards getting your goals. I have been out on long runs and found it tough, especially during the dark cold winter months. Running round on my own was tough when knowing my major races are not until the summer. I get days where I don’t want to run or get to the long run and my mind wants me to stop. However I keep pushing myself to carry on longer and these are the days that really count.
This Blog was written by Gobinder my confidence coach and me.