Words kill, words give life: they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)
Throughout this journey I have battled the negative chatter that periodically pops into my head and occasionally comes out of my mouth. During one of my workouts it dawned on me that my negative thoughts, especially when they were verbalized, were hindering my training. I hate to admit this, but at times I would not push myself as hard as I could because I believed I was inadequate and I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable. I figured since I was slow, why push myself out of my comfort zone? It’s not as if I would place overall or even in my age group at Augusta – it’s just about finishing before the cutoff.
I was cheating myself. I was not allowing myself to reach my full training potential or learn how to adequately deal with my mind feeling uncomfortable with my body being pushed to its limits. But to ensure that the “best me” would show up at Augusta, I knew I had to change my thinking and the way I approached my training. No longer could I allow myself to wimp out during a difficult workout and settle on being mediocre. It was time to put my big girl panties on.
During challenging times in my life I have relied on reading scriptures, repeating a mantra in my head, or listening to encouraging and empowering music, but I needed something more. I had to find a way to turn my mind off so my body could go beyond its comfort zone. For me it has meant speaking out loud to myself. Something about hearing my own voice encourage and push me has been a game changer.
Before my workouts I say out loud, “It’s gonna hurt.” That does not necessarily mean I will have to endure physical pain, but it lets my mind know it’s time to shut down. I will admit sometimes, like during a track workout, I have to repeat my mantra several times before my mind turns off. The track workouts that my coach comes up with are downright brutal at times! I have been amazed by how much my training has improved in all 3 disciplines just by learning how to turn off that switch. No longer do I back off when I start to feel uncomfortable during a workout. I embrace it and just push through it to the best of my ability.
I am definitely a firm believer that mental training is just as important as physical training. By speaking words of encouragement over myself, I have built my confidence and belief in myself. I openly celebrate my training and racing accomplishments, and when I am asked if I am ready for Augusta, I can now confidently say, “Yes I am!” There is no doubt in my mind that I can complete Augusta. As long as I keep speaking and believing, I will be able to do just about anything.