5 ways to stop negative running mind games

Running is a mental battle as much as a physical one. Stop the self-sabotage and run at your best with our top mind-game tips.

5 ways to stop negative running mind games

Live in the moment

If your mood starts to dip mid-race, focus on what’s going on around you and remember why you signed up to run in the first place. Yes, it’s to get to that finish line, and maybe even break a personal record, but enjoying running and the simple pleasures of movement should not be ignored.

Think of the thousands of people running this race for all sorts of reasons, from raising funds for charity, to achieving personal goals. Race day is a special moment and you're a part of it. So soak it all up, focus on what an amazing thing you're a part of and use this motivation to power your run.

Don't compare yourself

Comparing your running ability to others can stop your confidence right there in its tracks, which is the last thing you want to feel on the start line. Just because someone rocks up to a race donned in the latest running gear doesn't mean you aren't well-equipped yourself. Focus on you as an individual in all of your glory, and push the negative thoughts to one side. That includes feeling like you haven't done as much as everyone else.

Even if you get overtaken by another runner, so what! You may well fly past that runner three miles later, so focus on your ability, keep on running and hold your head high. Our tips on how to stop feeling like a running imposter should also help to diminish self-doubt.

Distract yourself

Distraction is one of the top techniques for getting through any testing task and there's plenty of things to keep you occupied during a race. The hundreds of people cheering on the sidelines are there for YOU, so show them some love and re-route any negative thoughts into positive power. A high-five will go a long way, as will a shimmy on down as you pass any bands playing music.

If all else fails, talk to a fellow runner, plug in and listen to your favourite tunes, or plot next week's shopping list. Whatever you do, just try to focus on the positives and power on through.

Remember your training

It’s easy to let your training miles fall into a forgotten black hole, but they happened and you're standing on that start line because of them. The week before your race, think back to the months spent working towards the goal that you’re about to crush! This includes all of those early mornings and late nights, as these heroic efforts will be what gets you through.  


Riding on a wave of positivity is a great way to shield yourself from your running worries and it's easier than you might think. Feeling more positive generally will boost your running and your race day confidence. The week before you stand on the start line, write a gratitude list each day and you will begin to see a more positive mindset taking hold. Take some time out to unwind and jot down three to five things that made you smile that day.

Spending some time doing the things you love will prove fruitful, too. This could be watching a film, going for a walk or heading to a gallery. The main aim is to feel relaxed, optimistic and raring to go!

You have the mind games covered, now avoid these race day mistakes

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