Positive Self-Talk Improves Endurance Performance

Positive self-talk is a psychological strategy frequently used by successful athletes and there is good reason for this.

Scientists have determined that our perception of required effort is what ultimately determines our endurance performance. In 2014 a study was conducted on the effects of positive motivational self-talk on cyclists.  Results concluded that motivational self-talk improves endurance performance by significantly reducing RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion). 


From the results of the study, it was also concluded that any factor or intervention designed to specifically target favourable changes in our perception of effort will be beneficial to our endurance performance.  

Take for example, the following statements:  "I want to go running" and "I have to go running."  What is the difference between these two statements?  Our attitude! 

positive self-talk

The way that we state or think about our beloved act of running, completely changes how motivated we are to go running and our experience of running (our endurance performance).

I have been guilty many times of saying to myself, "I have to go running tomorrow morning." Instantly, I have placed pressure on myself to do something that I am resisting. Often when I first wake in the morning, I have the same self-defeating thought: "I have to go running this morning." 


In reality there is absolutely no truth to these statements for me or for you! No one is forcing us to go running. It's not part of my job and it's not essential to my survival.  When I think about the truth of the situation, I am completely choosing to go running whenever I want. It is my decision. 

So the absolute truth is: "I want to go running." Phew! That feels so much better. It really does.  A simple change in my attitude towards running has completely changed how I feel before and during running. 

I feel happy about my decision. I am happy that I can go running and I love running. "I want to go running now!"

This is just one example of how the words we use can negatively or positively affect our endurance performance. If you have another example, please share it in the comments below. 

Take Back Your Power!

If I had continued to say, "I have to go running," I would have taken away all my power and put unnecessary pressure on myself. The often familiar and repetitious routine of putting pressure on ourselves takes away all our joy in whatever it is we are doing. This is especially true for running.

The words we choose reflect our attitude and if we carefully watch the words we use, they can help reveal the quality of our thoughts. We can become more aware of any inner thought patterns that may be unconsciously hurting us or causing discomfort in any way.  It is also possible that we are unintentionally derailing our training simply by the thoughts we have towards running and the resulting negative energy emitted by those thoughts. Our words reveal our thoughts and ultimately our attitude. 

Positive Self-Talk

A positive attitude uplifts us and actually gives us more physical energy resulting in an improved endurance performance. It also helps us enjoy running more so we are more motivated to run. 

So instead of constantly putting pressure on ourselves or beating ourselves up, let's change our inner vocabulary to include only motivational and positive self-talk. We need to become our own biggest and best supporter and take advantage of this easy, effective and frequently used psychological strategy. Let's change our inner dialogue to positive self-talk and improve our running performance now!

Motivation to Run

Do you struggle with running motivation? Watch for my new book coming soon, "How to Get and Stay Motivated to Run." This book is packed with tips and techniques on how to get motivated to go running and how to maintain motivation in the long run (pun intended)! Stay tuned!

Back to top of Positive Self-Talk

Return to Running Psychology

You might like these

Our Running Form Template Can Help You Run More Efficiently!

Instant download!

* indicates required

I promise to keep your email address secure and use it only to send you my newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time!


FTC Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying  purchases.
Learn more.

NEW FEATURE - DISQUS COMMENTS!

Be the first to comment.
Login using Facebook, Twitter, Google or Disqus.

Loading Comments
#disqus_thread { min-height: 200px; }


Recent Articles

  1. Barefoot Running on Sand Finally!

    Jan 18, 23 11:37 AM

    Barefoot Running on Sand

    Barefoot running on sand has to be the most enjoyable way to run and to my delight, I finally found a new holiday beach that is ideal for running.

    Read More

  2. What are your running goals for 2023?

    Jan 14, 23 08:50 AM

    Running Goals

    What are your running goals for 2023? What was your greatest achievement in 2022? A new year is the perfect time to set a new goal and reflect on last year's achievements. Please share your new goals…

    Read More

  3. Stay healthy and keep running!

    Dec 29, 22 07:01 AM

    Stay Healthy

    Learn how to stay healthy and keep running using the power of our mind! Are you often plagued by headaches, colds, influenza, sinus infections and other common illnesses that keep interfering with yo…

    Read More

  4. Happy Holidays!

    Dec 24, 22 07:31 AM

    Stay Healthy

    The holidays create many golden memories, but they are also a very stressful time for many of us. Stress often creates illnesses that we would happily do without. We want to stay healthy so we can fe…

    Read More

  5. Get motivated to run!

    Nov 24, 22 10:11 AM

    Motivated for running

    We all want to stay motivated for running as we know how powerful it is. Motivation is a powerful driving force that cannot be deterred and when we are truly motivated, there is no obstacle that can…

    Read More

  6. Do you need waterproof running shoes?

    Nov 13, 22 11:03 AM

    Waterproof shoes

    I want to my feet to be warm and dry when winter running but buying waterproof running shoes is not the only option. Find out what else you can do to stay dry and warm this winter while running.

    Read More

  7. What is Runner's Knee?

    Oct 31, 22 11:52 AM

    Runners Knee

    Runner’s knee is a painful knee injury that accounts for 27 percent of all running related injuries. Find out how to speed recovery and prevent it from re-occurring.

    Read More

  8. Decide How You Will Deal With Running Pain!

    Oct 28, 22 08:03 AM

    Running Pain

    Choose how you deal with running pain and avoid injuries! We can help stop injuries from developing when we choose a different response to pain, which can also help us develop a coping strategy for a…

    Read More

  9. What is IT Band Syndrome and how do we prevent it?

    Oct 05, 22 08:15 AM

    IT Band Syndrome

    When you have this condition, you will experience pain on the outside of the knee while running. The pain is usually sporadic—appearing on some runs and not on others. Find out the causes of ITBS, wh…

    Read More

  10. Affirmations Help Runners Achieve Their Goals!

    Oct 02, 22 08:10 AM

    Affirmations Work

    Affirmations are powerful and can work for everyone but they must be done properly. When they don't work, we must find the reason and correct it.

    Read More