Positive Thinking

I’m really good at telling other people to think positively.  I’m also really good about thinking positively about what other people can do and achieve.  When I ran the Maryland Half Marathon with my hubby, he told me around mile 11 that he couldn’t keep going because he was going to die (yes, he really said that).  I was right there telling him he wouldn’t die and I knew he could finish strong.  He told me to to just keep running while he took a break; clearly, he couldn’t handle all my positivity.

Usually my positive thinking about others is right on.  Hubby did finish strong for the MD Half and he didn’t die.  Unfortunately, my positive thinking isn’t always right.  I thought Ashton and Demi really might make it, but I guess I was wrong about that one.  Tear.

As I get ready to kick off my next round of marathon training the week after Thanksgiving, my positive thinking is wavering.  For my past 2 marathons, I followed a fairly basic training plan.  It helped me build the mileage and cover the distance, but it didn’t do anything to teach my slow legs to move faster.  For the Rock ‘n Roll USA Marathon in March, I’m going to adopt a different training plan.

When I first chose this plan, I thought maybe I was aiming a little high.  I told hubby about it and he teased me that I was basically saying I was going to “aim high and achieve low” since while I was telling him I was going to do it, I was already saying I wouldn’t be able to reach my goal.  I’m so thankful he’s so supportive of me and believes in me when I don’t believe in myself.  I will honestly be happy if I can take any time at all off my marathon PR, but I’m going to strive for something even better than that.  My training plan is for a 4 hour marathon.  Considering that my first two marathons were 4:57 and 4:54 respectively, this feels like a very ambitious goal for me.  Even if it means I end up finishing in 4:15, 4:30 or 4:45, I’ll just be happy to see an improvement.

The plan includes hill runs, tempo runs, Yasso 800s (I’m scared just typing them into my schedule), runs with strides, and some very welcome “easy” runs.  My longest run will be 22 miles and I will also do two 20 mile runs.  Looking at what lies ahead in this plan terrifies me and excites me at the same time.

Here is my problem: I don’t think I can run a 4 hour marathon.  Where is my positive thinking? If someone told me that they wanted to run a 4 hour marathon, I’d tell them they could do it.  Why can’t I tell myself that?

Some people have expressed concern over whether or not they can complete all 100 miles for my Winter 100 Challenge and I have told every single one of them that I know that they can.  Why can’t I believe in myself like I believe in everyone else?

If I keep telling myself I’m slow, I’m just going to stay slow.  I have to start following my own advice and believing in what I can achieve.

How do you stay positive?


  1. says

    First and foremost- of course you can do it! Yes, shaving 54 minutes off your time is a lot, but you’re amazing!

    That being said I know how much easier it is to be positive for others. That little voice inside your head telling you that you aren’t good enough never seems to chime in when you’re talking about other people.

    So keep going and reach out to all your peeps when you need support. You have so many people who believe in you!

    Also, I knew there was a reason I liked you… it’s the positive attitude!
    Karen recently posted…I Am SO MadMy Profile

  2. says

    I really think you WILL see a difference by adding in hills, sprints, tempo and various types of runs that challenge your speed AND endurance. Not only physically, but mentally (where the REAL challenge is).

    I did 2 20-milers and 1 23-miler for Savannah and it was really that last 23 miles that gave me the confidence that I needed.

    Remaining positive for yourself is hard, but kicking those negative feelings in the ass feels so good! Just remember the end goal and how awesome it will feel when you achieve it!
    Michelle recently posted…Five For Friday – Bring on the FunnyMy Profile

    • kristen says

      Thank you, Michelle! I agree that real challenge is mental. So often I tell myself I can’t do things even though I really am capable of them physically.

  3. Hubby says

    You can do it love! I believe in you, like you believe in me :) I agree with Karen, you are amazing and I know you can do anything you set your mind to!

  4. says

    I think so much of running confidence lies in the training. If you can lay down some solid training, nail your 4-min. yasso’s, then it will go a long way towards building your confidence. So focus on all your progress as you go along and draw on that. You’ve got it!
    misszippy recently posted…Three on ThursdayMy Profile

  5. says

    You CAN do it! You need to think about what if this was someone else and tell yourself what you would say to that person.

    I am the queen of self doubt and sabotage, however I just tell myself to get out there and do it. It doesn’t have to be pretty it just has to get done. Amazingly enough, when I stick to the plan, I achieve my goals!

    Plan your run, run your plan. ;)
    Theresa recently posted…The Other Side of the Aid Station TableMy Profile

    • kristen says

      Plan your run, run your plan – love that! Thank you so much for the encouragement! I agree that it doesn’t have to be pretty; I know that it won’t be pretty – especially when the speed work kicks in!

  6. Kathleen says

    OK this is going to sound mildly cheesy, but I actually have a mantra taped to my shuffle that I found in runner’s world that says, ‘there will be a day I cannot do this. Today is not that day.’ It helps me on those days where my legs just don’t want to work.

    I also use my brother-in-law as motivation – he’s a gunny sgt in the Marines. When I’m out there having my ‘first world problem’ (anyone else see that post and think it’s hilarious?) – I think about him off whereever he is, and what he must be going through and how, if he can selfishly do that and defend my right to have a first world problem, then dang it, I can run another 5 minutes.

    I believe in your goal – and you can do it!!

      • kristen says

        Thank you so much for this, Kathleen. I LOVE that mantra. I just ordered a Go Sport ID for myself and I wish I had known that mantra before so I could have put it on there. That is awesome. Your brother-in-law sounds like great motivation too!


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