When the going gets tough, the tough get positive. Ask any successful runner about the key to their success and you will likely find “staying positive” at the top of their list. This becomes particularly true and important when faced with adversity — daily life challenges, COVID-19 threats, workouts and races that didn’t go as planned or ones that got canceled.
The adage of making lemonade out of lemons allows us to shift the focus from what isn’t working to what we can do to make it work. This is the key ingredient to a positive mindset. By acknowledging and accepting our thoughts instead of trying to dismiss them or worse yet, berate ourselves for whatever misfortune we feel has been dealt us, we decide to make the shift and ask ourselves, how can I make this work?
When faced with an injury or a cancellation, do things you have not been able to do or put on the back burner when you were devoting so much time to running. Get on a bike, take a walk, go for a swim in the ocean (assuming they allow us to get on the beach). Invite a friend or two over for dinner and a movie (and hand out sanitizer). Read a book. Work on other physical weaknesses to make your body stronger (there’s a lot you can do using your own bodyweight — Google is your best friend here!). Get on the phone and have a real conversation or FaceTime. Most people get caught up in what’s happening to them while not realizing it also happens to others. Reach out to someone who cheers you up and has a positive outlook on life to give you perspective. Even positive people have setbacks — it’s how they deal with them that sets them apart. Most likely will tell you their setbacks were one of their best lessons or opportunities to grow and learn more about themselves.
We’re only limited by our thoughts. If that thought is negative or doesn’t work for you, then choose a different thought. If you’re low on energy, ask yourself what you can do to improve it. If a race went south, ask yourself what you could have done (or not done, like overtraining or ignoring the taper) leading up to the race that might have caused this and what can you do to make the next race better? Look for your silver lining. It is there. And it is your key ingredient to getting a positive mindset.