My Self Talk: A Makeover

A few things triggered this entry: (1) I still feel disappointed that I didn’t get to complete my last quality workout, (2) a blog entry at and (3) the Mizuno Infinity Run last Sunday.

Simply put self talk is the conversation you have with yourself.

Here is my running self talk sampler.

When running my self talk is usually a running commentary of the things I
see. “Nice shoes.” “Aba, na-lap na niya ako ah.”

At a race, “Hmm, kaya ko kayang i-overtake ito?” “Why am I doing this again?” “Another km down X to go.”

During quality workouts, “Mommy!” “Legs we are running fast today, okay?”

When climbing hills, “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” True, kinakanta ko ito in my mind and sometimes out loud.

During our long runs, “Stick to your long run pace.”  “Saan kaya kami magbreakfast?”

In his blog, Coach Dean pointed out that putting a positive slant and reframing self talk can have a positive effect on performance. So during hilly portions of a run, instead of saying “This hill will kill my legs”, it can be reframed to “This hill will make my legs stronger”.

Since I was preparing for the Mizuno race, I figured it would be a good time for me to try out this self talk business. It’s going to be a 15K run; my playlist can only carry me so far.

So, I went back to my running log and looked at my post run comments to see if I can reconstruct my self talk and prepare a makeover. Looking at my post run comments, I realized that unwittingly, I have been trying to improve my self talk. I have entries with comments on working on my mental game. My self talk based on my running log … commit to this workout… grrr, i cant keep track of my heart rate … don’t start too fast para no side stitch I love standing rests … 1 more minute push it..

To prepare for the race, I did what Coach Dean said and did a breakdown of the race and the route. My plan was to break down the race and prepare my positive self talk for the race segments where I know I will be tempted to slack off, walk and heaven forbid give up. 
This is my breakdown and the self talk for each segment …

Arriving at the race venue: Warm-up para I don’t use the first km as warm-up. That will shave off at least 1 minute.
At the starting line: Focus! Have fun.
Before the gun: Don’t start too fast para no side stitch
After the gun: Find a pacer and keep that runner marked.
Towards Lawton: I am strong. Hit the pace. Check your form. Tight abs.
Down to Bayani Road: Natakbo mo na ito. No more surprises, keep the pace.
To Heritage: Ride the downhill
Back To Bayani Road: Uphill remember 10fast and 10slow. It will get me to the top.
Down Mckinley Hill: Ride it.
Up Mckinley Hill: One last hill the rest is easy.
At the home stretch: Push it. Step to the beat. Wag kang rerelax, para no regrets when I see the official time

Did it work for me? I really believe that it did. I, of course, added a few more positive self talk along the way. I needed a lot especially at the Mckinley Hills segment. The running commentary of the things I saw never stopped also. Like, “Buti na lang I didn’t wear the pink top kung hindi pareho kami nitong girl na ito.” “Tama si Vicky, Newtons nga yung shoes ni
Sen Pia.”

Being conscious of my self talk helped me focus during this race. I finished strong and kept on running despite the temptation to slow down and walk. It even helped me improve my time. When I ran the Yakult 10miler last
November 2007 my pace was 6:34min/km and at the Mizuno Infinity Run my pace improved to 6:18min/km. But of course, it was not just the self talk, I have been putting in significant hours of quality workouts din naman. However, having a positive internal dialogue helped me focus during this race.

Will it work for you? I honestly don’t know, but there is certainly no harm in trying.

Click here to read a related article from Runner’s World, Choice Words.


3 thoughts on “My Self Talk: A Makeover

  1. Hi Bards! I also engage in self talk… haha! It’s either… “there is nothing I can’t do” … or to make sure I’m not running too fast, I repeat to myself, “CONSTANT PACE.” If I end up saying “CONSTANT SPACE,” then that means I’m running to fast or no longer jogging at a comfortable easy pace.

    I also notice so many things on the runs. One of the things I like about running is that I get to appreciate the scenery and the people and activities that are happening all around me.

    Because of this post, I’ve posted something similar 😀 Check it out

  2. Well done! You know it’s like this.. it’s not so much that the positive self talk will MAKE you faster but that negative self talk will undoubtedly make you slower or allow you to give in and back off sooner than it is really physically necessary to do so. So, you are finally optimizing your condition and your hard training…which of course the positive self talk has reinforced along the way to get you through each workout. So, it all works together. Thanks for dropping by my blog.
    Coach Dean

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