I was listening to one of the Another Mother Runner‘s podcasts the other week. In this one, Sarah was talking about her successful BQ at the Victoria Marathon (episode #133 if you go through iTunes). This was a big, huge goal for Sarah and she has been working really hard to make this race a success. After the first 13 miles, she was feeling good but knew she couldn’t slack off so she spent several miles talking to herself in the third person. Kind of like a sports announcer, “And here comes Sarah Bowen Shea, looking strong and reeling in one runner after another” (I’m paraphrasing, I can’t remember exactly what she said but it was along those lines). And she said it totally helped!
The other week, when I was running in the rain and decided to see what I could do, I used the same trick and finished my third mile a full minute faster than my first (despite rain and dark and impenetrable glasses – and don’t forget the hills!). I thought it might have been just a fluke so I tried it again yesterday on my long run. The wind was in my face for miles 9-10 and I was a bit tired and sore my run the day before and just wanted to be done. So, I started doing a little announcer spiel, with many lines about “Unexpected Runner’s strong quads are really helping her to power through this wind!” etc. Totally worked! I kept an almost even pace for the entire run and had zero walk breaks.
I was musing with one of my friends about why it worked and she thought it may have something to do with the idea of “being observed” and wanting to perform well for an, albeit imaginary, audience. I personally think that it’s not that difficult to trick our mind when it’s just being whiney bitch 😉
So, the next time you feel yourself starting to flag or need an extra boost, try talking positively about yourself in the third person and see if it helps! (I’ve heard it helps if you have a fast nickname you can call yourself) And then report back because I need more anecdotal evidence! 🙂