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The Power of Positive Self-Talk

Posted: Apr 11 2016

We think she's awesome for a lot of reasons. One of which is the fact that she has the word "Hugs" on her Coffee Mug. 

April Gellatly

April Gellatly is one of our newest pros and she was kind enough to send us this great blog post on "Positive Self-Talk".

One of the most powerful tools we have while training, racing, in life is Positive Self-Talk. Yes, your Mental Game is a more powerful tool than that Garmin around your wrist. The Garmin is showing you output numbers, but as you process these numbers, what are you telling yourself? Having an awareness of Self-Talk is one of the first steps to a more positive state of mind while racing, training, and in life. I use Personal Mantras, a Positive General Outlook & Attitude, and meaningful Pre-Race Notes to pull the best out of myself on Race Day, but more importantly, Everyday.

I like to let Personal Mantras develop organically. These phrases may present themselves from a Coach, Teammate, or a Construction Worker cheering you on the side of the road. These phrases, typically, are external, and as you internalize and personalize these phrases again and again, they gain power.

Earlier this year, I was in a tough Spin Class with my Coach, Matthew Rose. Our Swim Coach, Maria Thrash, popped into the Spin Room during one of the tough intervals. She yelled, ‘He can’t hurt you.’ Now during hard sessions, I repeat, ‘He can’t hurt you. He can’t hurt you.’ At first during the tough work, “he” is always Matthew because he assigned the session, but as the phrase is repeated, ex-boyfriends and finally “he” will become my father and I work through the pain and I can feel myself get stronger.

I personalize or feminize my mantras. For example, my go to while maintaining a tough and specific Pace >> “You are doing a great job, Pretty, Little Girl. You are exactly where you need to be.” When I reference, “You are exactly where you need to be”; I tell myself this not only because I am running the targeted pace, but also, I take a moment and express gratitude that I have the time, energy, and opportunity to chase dreams. An attitude of gratitude will get you a lot further than ‘having to go do another workout session.’ Next time you have a tough workout, use the phrases, “I GET to run xxx on the Track today. I GET to suffer. I’m sooooooo lucky.” Even if you end up giggling at yourself, viewing these tough sessions as opportunity over time will change your mindset.

Now, when I look down at my Garmin AND I am not matching the assigned output, I still keep it positive. I tell myself >> “You can do this, Princess.” And I find another gear even if this new pace or output is not sustainable. I try to meet my targets and take pride in that extra little push. Do your best. Take pride in that effort. Keep it THAT simple. Do your best. Take pride in that effort.

Finally, onto meaningful Pre-Race Notes (and an admission of one of my Tri-Geek Habits…), I pull Notes from the Race Plan developed by my Coach and I will read and re-read and add feminine flare and re-read these notes that I have jotted onto index cards until I am likely saying them in my sleep. The week leading into the Race, it helps me stay focused on the task at hand. The process of writing and re-reading helps to block out some of the noise from Race Predictions, Press Releases, overwhelming Start Lists, general chatter on Facebook, etc. I’ll close with one of my favorite Pre-Race Notes from Ironman Texas a few years ago. It applies so well to Race Day, but is applicable across the board to both Training and Life.  

Ironman Texas (2013)

Be here.

Don’t be anywhere else.

Positive.

Confident.

Quiet Mind.

Quiet Soul.

Raging Passion.