I think I should wear this bracelet every day between now and April 16

A simple, seven-letter word that I have such a hard time with.

We’ve all heard it said that running is 90 percent mental. And I concur. Many, many times it was my mental strength that got me through a race or a tough workout. When I have confidence in my ability, I perform at my best.

But it’s getting to that point of confidence that I always struggle with. On Tuesday after our run, a few of my friends were suggesting that I am in better shape than I realize. About 50 percent of me believes them. The other 50 percent thinks that’s not possible. (Getting the picture that I’m a head case?)

Let’s look at the evidence: I have only been back to running for four months after nearly a full year off. To me it doesn’t seem like that’s enough time to get into proper shape. I don’t have the season of racing and training in my legs that I normally would have before a marathon. The math doesn’t add up to good results. This is what erodes my confidence.

And yet, I have had some solid long runs lately, where I finished feeling really strong. I’ve been able to get in some good speed sessions the last few weeks. These things give me confidence.

I am going to work on this confidence thing, draw on the positives and try to get myself to believe. ‘Cause once I’m there, good things happen on race day.

How do you instill confidence in your ability?

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  1. says

    How timely this is for me! I just said to my husband last night that I am lacking the confidence going into my marathon on April 14th that I had going into my last fall marathon, when my training is probably better now. I need to work on my mental strength that I know is there in the next couple weeks and believe! Thanks for posting these thoughts!:)
    Katie @ msfitrunner recently posted..Split Pea SnacksMy Profile

  2. says

    I struggle with this concept as well. I think a lot of people do and those you do believe are often the strongest. I also think I need to up my thinking on how much of running is mental. I always think of a 60/40 ratio – 60% mental, 40% physical! :-)
    abbi recently posted..Freaking and BreakingMy Profile

  3. says

    I have less confidence in my ability than in my stubbornness. :) One thing that helps me achieve a level of confidence is when I’ve managed to follow a plan: I put in the work, I should be able to do the event. The biggest help for me, though, is that I usually don’t have big expectations for myself. Kind of a go out there, do what you can type of thing. You definitely put more pressure on yourself, so that last one isn’t going to help you much. :)

    Look at the evidence. You’re a strong runnerand your training is going well. You’ve got this.
    Kate recently posted..LBL on the horzionMy Profile

  4. says

    Whoa…we are way to in sync. I have been trying to psych myself up (and not out) for my race this weekend. I need to believe that I can run this strong and BELIEVE in myself as far as running goes.
    Laura recently posted..It’s the little thingsMy Profile

  5. says

    I’m finding that lately, I almost think being positive is sucking out half of my energy. I’ve been injured for the last 5 weeks and with Boston just around the corner, it is hard to stay positive. I’m happy with all of the new things I’m doing, but it just doesn’t feel sufficient enough for Boston. We’ll see. I do need to believe in myself more because I know that I WILL finish…it just might not be pretty and it certainly isn’t the way I planned it.
    Michelle recently posted..Out from under the cloud…My Profile

  6. says

    I only started blogging and reading blogs in the past 6 months, so I don’t know why you took a year off. But from what I do know of you… I doubt you did nothing to keep yourself in shape over that year. 4 months of running is significant, and you have had some very solid long runs and speed work outs! Ultimately, what is your goal for Boston? To PR? Do you need to be confident for a PR at that race, or confident to finish? I think they are very different levels, and I have no doubt you will finish strong and with passion and heart. You want to be there. You want to be running. You’ve been loving your runs. Sometimes that’s all we need to get us to the line fast. I’m confident in your abilities, I think you may surprise yourself that day!

  7. says

    It is all about that one word “believe”. I had some temp. tats made with Pegasus and a banner that says “Believe”. Love it. It’s a good reminder that the mind can overcome the physical.
    As for confidence, you’ll be at the starting line on April 16th. You’ll feel some nervousness…why? Probably because you want to run your best and you want all you can get out of your body that day. The fact that you are there says you have the confidence to see it through. Don’t dwell, just do. :)
    Joanne recently posted..FOFF Lentil and Sausage Soup (Vegetarian Version Offered)My Profile

  8. says

    It’s so true, especially on race day. I heard once that training was 90% physical and 10% mental but on race day 10% physical and 90% mental….and that’s true. It’s hard to trust your training and believe in yourself sometimes…
    Robin recently posted..Shake My ShamrockMy Profile

  9. says

    speed and confidence just do not go together for me. so I am asking myself to do speed workouts every week and not being upset when I can’t do it all, but instead proud that I am moving forward.

    you have seen amazing progress in your training and no matter what the clock says it’s a huge accomplishment
    Amanda – RunToTheFinish recently posted..What influences you?My Profile

  10. says

    We all are happy for you no matter if you walk the back 13 or whether you blow the doors off the last 13!! You’ve made it to the summit of running just by being at Boston! Do your best and that’s all that counts!
    Coy recently posted..New Shoes…My Profile

  11. says

    Running is so mental! I was just telling my running buddy the other night that your legs know they can run as fast as you want them to, you just have to get your mind to let your legs run that fast!
    J recently posted..WIAW (after a 20 miler)My Profile

  12. says

    You have a lot of time and running invested in the Running Bank, so that should make you believe I think. Once a runner, always a runner, unless you quit all together. What helps me is thinking back to that fast mile I did in highschool. That gives me the edge I need to know that I can and I believe in myself.
    Kenley Jones recently posted..Still RunningMy Profile

  13. says

    We are always our own worst critic and for some reason seem to always impart all of these crazy circumstantial limitations on ourselves. I think that “fast” and “fit” are more a state of mind then they are actually a state of physical being, if your mind believes then it is easier for the body to follow. So what if you took some time off from injury, that doesn’t make you any less prepared to cruise through your race like a champ feeling strong. It’s hard to believe, but girl there is so much power in the conviction of self empowerment through positivity. You are a strong and powerful runner, and that course is yours.
    Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl recently posted..Chicago 13.1 Marathon Race Entry GiveawayMy Profile

  14. says

    Self doubt is part of being human – we all know we can fail because it’s happened at one stage or another. Self belief can be an elusive critter but when we find it we can take of the world. It’s time to start believing the signs that those good runs are showing you. You are fit, you are strong, you can do it.
    Char recently posted..Blogging As An Excuse Not To WorkMy Profile

  15. says

    Well, I think you need it all: body, mind and luck (e.g. marathon gods). All the guts in the world can’t do it for you if you aren’t trained and all the training in the world won’t work if you think you don’t have it and neither is enough if it’s 20 mph headwinds 😉

    The basic endurance takes more than a year to go away. The speed can be gotten back in 4 months for sure.

    If the long run feeling keeps being good, that’s a very good sign in my book.
    Paul recently posted..Dunked again!My Profile

  16. says

    Isn’t it amazing how big a role confidence plays in our ability to race well? I know it sounds trite that running/racing is xx% mental, but it totally is!

    For me, confidence boosts tend to come in group training because I so often have it in my head that I’m not as fast or strong as some of my teammates/training buddies. It’s always great to get the affirmation that I am, but sometimes I wish I could measure that internally as well.
    Abby @ Have Dental Floss, WIll Travel recently posted..2012 Palmetto Swamp Fox: On Being The RabbitMy Profile

  17. says

    Preparation makes that belief possible!! But I do love the word, too. Believe in yourself and you can do anything! My wife’s business coach called her today just to say “Now that you’ve taken the leap off the cliff, it’s time to grow your wings”. Why did she take a leap? Because she believes in herself! Take the leap and enjoy the flight!!!
    Erik recently posted..I hate not being able to runMy Profile

  18. says

    Honestly, I try not to think about it too much. I just do it. I decide on a reasonable pace goal for myself, and I go for it. Take my half on Sunday, for example. I want to go under 1:40. I have nothing to lose, so why not try? I think as recreational runners, we often take ourselves too seriously. Not that we don’t want to perform well, but at the end of the day, it’s just numbers, and the next race is always right around the corner. I can’t imagine the pressure that elites face, especially when things like making the Olympic Team are at stake. Can you imagine? Talk about your confidence being shaky knowing the enormity of that situation. While I envy their abilities, I don’t envy that sort of pressure.

    You’ve had a solid training cycle, and you’re going to do great! Go for it, Miss Zippy! Listen to your friends!
    Allison Johnson recently posted..It’s gettin’ *Hoity Toity* up in here!My Profile

  19. says

    This is sooo true and yet so hard to do.
    I think our bodies remember, even after a year off, what it used to do and what it is capable off. I think that once you are in good shape and have to take some time off, your body recovers faster and is able to get back to that place.
    You are gonna find out your body is stronger than you thought and after a year off it is biting at the bit to get out there and race.
    Go get it!!
    Missy recently posted..LA Marathon Part 2My Profile

  20. says

    Keep looking at that bracelet, because it’s got a great message. You shouldn’t have doubts in yourself, but we all know how that goes….it’s hard not to doubt. But you’ve got proof from your long runs that you are ready to kill Boston.

    Keep in mind, your rest period was part of training. In fact, your body healing may have been what’s caused you to do so well. It wasn’t a waste and it was part of getting you to this point. So have confidence in both your training and your rest. Both are equally important!

    Vieve recently posted..Pump ItMy Profile