Staying Positive

I hope everyone has had a fantastic week so far, and that you are all in the midst of an excellent Holiday season! I had an amazing Christmas yesterday with my family; I couldn’t have asked for a better couple of days. Although it’s back to reality (somewhat) with a work trip to LA on the books for tomorrow, I can’t complain one bit! Sorry about the bit of a blog break, but I just couldn’t really find the time to blog when I hadn’t seen my family in such a long time. But now I’m back, stuffed from a few delicious holiday feasts, and exhausted from a few days of fun!

Now back to today’s post…

Before heading home for the holidays, I went to Harvard last week to do some stadiums as I often do on the weekends. It was a very cold, windy day, which is not really ideal for running/walking up and down giant concrete steps. I had been looking forward to it for a few days though, and my gym was closed, so I figured I could just make the most of it, get my workout in, and then get back to the warmth of my own home.

At the same time that I was going through my warm up, a group of 5 women showed up and began walking the stairs together. I don’t make it a habit to eaves drop on other people especially while I’m working out, but being in such close proximity, I couldn’t help but hear some of the things they were saying. As they started their workout session, 4 of the women were very positive and supportive of each other; encouraging each other as they all got a little tired. One of them, though, spent the entire time complaining. When she wasn’t complaining, she was standing around with a mopey look on her face.

Now, I get it. Even though I have some sort of strange love for that stadium, I understand that most people don’t consider that a fun afternoon. But if you’ve made the commitment to do that workout, and if you’re being supported by 4 of your friends, don’t you think it would help to make the most of it?

After my warmup, I popped my earbuds in and got started on my own workout. It wasn’t until about 15 minutes later that I looked up to see what section the other ladies were at, when I realized that they were all still working hard. All except for one. Guess who ended up quitting far before the rest of her group? That’s right, Ms. Complainy-pants.

The rest of her friends weren’t flying through this workout by any means; I could tell it wasn’t easy for any of them (it’s not easy for anyone, really!). But they were all still going, plugging away at a workout that they had already committed to, no matter how slow they were moving. I even heard them all still encouraging each other to keep going.  But the one woman who had spent the entire beginning of her workout complaining was already done, and was now standing by herself near the start, with a sour look on her face.

Obviously I don’t know them, and I certainly don’t know this woman’s story. And because of that, I’m not judging her for stopping her workout; maybe she really had just reached her limit. But I can’t help but think that if she had maybe stayed a little bit more positive during the beginning of her workout, maybe she would have made it a little bit farther with her friends?

I really believe that positive and negative thinking can effect your performance whether it be in the gym, on the trail, or in your respective sport. I know that when I have a hard time with a workout, it usually makes it exponentially worse when I start having negative thoughts at the same time.  Going back to my limited class time in sports psychology, positive imagery and positive self-talk have been proven to enhance athletic performance, and that doesn’t just pertain to competitive or professional athletes. It applies to you too. There have been times when I’ve been running stadiums, and start to feel like I just can’t go anymore. After stopping and actually saying out loud to myself “Come on legs, You can do this!”, I can usually finish a workout that moments before seemed like it could be beyond my reach. I have had to talk myself into big lifts at the gym before, and almost every time, it helps me to  push out one last rep, or to hit a new PR.

This is why I can’t help but wonder if this woman had just stayed positive during the first part of her workout, could she maybe have completed a few more columns of the stadium? If she had said “I can do this”, instead of “I can’t do this” or “Why the hell are we here”, maybe she could have helped herself to push through a little bit longer.

Who knows, but I say it’s worth a try. What about you? Do you tend to talk yourself through workouts when they get tough? Do you find that positive thinking helps your workouts? Do you have any go-to phrases that you repeat to yourself to push a little farther?

2 thoughts on “Staying Positive

  1. I’ve definitely noticed that staying positive can help power me through a workout – especially when I encounter tough hills on a run. But sometimes when my body is spent, no amount of self talk will work. 😛

    1. I hear you on that one! Sometimes enough is enough!!

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