Running Psychology -- A Positive Attitude is Essential for Runners

Running psychology - what do you think about while running? What your mind does while you are running is equally if not more important than what your body is doing. Read on to discover why and how the psychology of running plays such a big role in running results.

Having positive, beneficial thoughts will create better results than negative, self-defeating thoughts. So why not make life and your running easier by choosing healthy, uplifting positive thoughts while running?


There is a great deal of scientific evidence to support the effects of positive versus negative thoughts on sports performances. As runners we really don't need the evidence as we have all experienced good runs and bad runs.  

If we can remember our thoughts during the good runs, we know that they were upbeat, encouraging and positive thoughts.  On the other hand, the bad runs were filled with harmful, pessimistic self-talk.  We do it to ourselves, but the good news is - we CAN control our thoughts.  It just takes planning and practice and studies show that positive self-talk improves endurance performance.

Thoughts do Count...
Especially in Running Psychology

Running Psychology

We put a lot of time and effort into our training and running, but do we put any effort into preparing our mind for running? We need to have a plan for what we are going to think about. We need to be prepared to switch off  self-defeating thoughts before they take over. Visualization techniques can be very helpful.

Trying to fight the negative thoughts doesn't work as it only gives them more focus. They need to be quickly replaced with positive thoughts or positive affirmations, i.e. I am a strong, healthy runner, I feel great, I can do this. Try the 10 Most Powerful Affirmations for Runners.

Have a trigger ready to quickly enable you to switch to a positive frame of mind. Keep repeating the positive thought over and over until you are feeling great and your body is relaxed. It is important to know How to Relax and how to recognize when your body is not relaxed. Have a plan to make Running Psychology work for you!

Some runners really stress before a race and suffer from Performance Anxiety. It is often caused by their thoughts. The negative thoughts take over and destroy their confidence just when they need it most. 

Some runners use distraction as a method to help them relax and enjoy a run. Listening to your favorite music can be a great distraction. Counting can also help keep the mind distracted from the task at hand. When I become fatigued, I like to focus on my breathing, my form and staying relaxed while repeating positive affirmations. It really helps me! 

Plan to Feel Good

What is your running psychology? While running, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Do you feel good? Are you enjoying your run?  

Our bodies are comprised of energy. We can choose to operate on a lower energy frequency or a higher energy frequency, depending on the quality of our thoughts. Why not tap into the higher frequency of energy and develop a consistent positive thought pattern?  

Develop an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful and filled with appreciation for your health and strength. Be thankful for the beautiful day. Be thankful for the wet, rainy day. Be thankful just for the experience. You will be amazed at how good you feel and how much easier your run will be.

The Joy of Running

Have you ever experienced a run in which you felt totally in control? You felt like you could run forever, it was effortless and time just passed so quickly.

This experience is often referred to being in a 'state of flow'. It can also be referred to as the 'runner's high'. It is the feeling of sheer pleasure that have caused so many to become addicted to running.

The more often you experience flow state, the more confident you will become in your running ability and the more you will enjoy each run. You will begin to find joy in the running experience, rather than worrying about your speed or performance. Although the strange thing is that you will probably begin to notice an improvement in your running performance.

Positive thinking and positive energy will help you experience the flow state more often. You control your thoughts so you can control your running. Put Running Psychology to work for you - plan your thoughts and plan to love running even more.

You may also be interested in the following articles:

How to Overcome Tiredness While Running

Become a Happy Runner and Run Injury Free!

A Rude Affirmation for Running that Works!

Give Yourself the Gift of Runners High

Can Fear Cause Running Injuries?

Why Do Affirmations Work for Some and Not for Others?

How to Stay Motivated for Running 

Relaxation Exercises for Runners

10 Most Powerful Affirmations for Runners

Race Visualization Exercise

Visualization Methods


Return to Running Injury Free

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