International Women's Day is a call for equality that aptly comes at the beginning of Women's History Month in March. This special day seeks to bring awareness to necessary support and encouragement of women in all fields--from the workplace, to art, to tech, to sports. But in an overarching manner, it is also a call for all of us to believe in and commit to ourselves and our abilities daily. It's not always easy to tie those running shoes, grab your Armpocket armband, and get started on your running miles for the day. There will be times that you're frustrated, tired, and wondering why you bother to put your body through it paces. The reason, of course, is because you deserve a healthy body and are far more capable than you know!
So, in the spirit of uplifting others and encouraging positivity, we have some tips to help you practice positive self-talk. It's proven to improve athletic performance and running endurance, with the side effect of increased self-esteem!
1. Start Recognizing the Negativity
Sometimes it's easier to berate ourselves for what we don't do than to congratulate ourselves for what we are able to complete. "I should have a small dinner because I didn't wake up for my run this morning" or "I only ran once this week and won't make any progress at this rate" are prime examples. We may think that punishing ourselves with harsh words makes us less likely to repeat an unwanted behavior, but in actuality, we're just creating internal bullies who bring us down and make us second-guess our abilities. Half the battle is realizing that the voice in our head is sometimes narrating our life negatively.
2. Frame Goals Positively
Once we recognize that we're being negative, the next intuitive step is to focus on the positive! Instead of thinking "I really have to work on getting my mile time faster," consider "I'm getting pretty good at this and am ready to try some intensive speed training." The idea is to acknowledge your accomplishments so far (which ARE impressive) and then build excitement for the next step in your training.
3. Don't Be Afraid to Celebrate You
Talk to yourself like you would your best friend. When you finish a run, give yourself some credit! "It was a hot one today, but I stuck it out!" or "That was awesome--I definitely pushed myself today!" Don't harp on whether you were slower than yesterday or if you feel more out of breath than normal. Progress is a series of ups and downs that steadily build you up and make you better. It's completely normal to have "off" days, but why not consider them just plain "days where I got up and put in work that will help me improve over time"? Sounds much better, doesn't it?
4. Seek Motivation When You Need It
You're human and there will be days when it will be tough to believe your own, internal words of encouragement. This is an ongoing process of changing to a positive mindset, so it takes time and practice. For those instances when you need a bit of a boost, turn to fellow runners! The running community is chock-full of empowering stories, fitness quotes, and positive words--especially those of women who had to overcome their fair share of adversity to get the respect and acknowledgment that female athletes rightfully deserve. Sometimes, we just need small reminders that we are capable of true greatness and there's nothing wrong with learning about and recognizing the greatness in others to help us realize our own abilities.
“Life is for participating, not for spectating.” -Kathrine Switzer, the first officially registered female competitor of the Boston Marathon
If you need that injection of positivity throughout your whole run, consider a podcast! There are a slew of running-themed podcasts available that feature tips, health advice, and inspirational stories to keep you motivated and moving. Soak up the can-do attitude hands-free with your Armpocket running armband that keeps your phone protected while the no-slip strap and memory foam backing sits so comfortably on your arm, you'll forget it's there. Because your mind should be focused on how you're crushing your workout--not on your gear!
With a bit of dedication, positive self-talk will eventually become second nature. You'll feel better and perform better and that positive reinforcement will make you more likely to continue your running habit. We can all use a reminder that we're pretty great and what's better than the constant stream of positivity coming from your own mind?
Here at Armpocket, we encourage you to participate in life and support everyone around you in doing the same: go for a run, try a new activity, and be brave!