Affirm Your Greatness!!!

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Affirm Your Greatness!!!

Written by Richard Ferguson, Ph.D. on 01 February 2016.

Maybe it occurs out on a training run. A small voice inside your head asks the question, “Have I done enough training to get through my marathon?” Or maybe it occurs late in a race when that little voice says, “I don’t know if I can make it to the finish” or “I don’t think I can keep up this pace”.  Maybe it occurs when you first get out of bed. The voice in your head says, “just go back to sleep; training is a hopeless waste of time”. Whenever it does occur, that little voice is slowly eroding your confidence and putting you and your running down. Well, I’m saying it’s time to shut that little voice up once and for all and affirm your greatness as a runner.

                  To be confident as a runner you must understand that your thoughts will have a huge impact on your training, and ultimately, your race day performance. Your thinking can effect concentration, hormone release, energy levels and muscle tension. That negative little voice really can make you feel bad, both mentally and physically. To run your best, both in training and racing, you must be optimistic and remind yourself of your capabilities as a runner and reinforce these capabilities by reminding yourself of what you have accomplished in the past. You need to be your biggest fan and your own best running friend. Be positive and go after what you want in your running!


One of the most effective ways to become more positive and increase running confidence is to formulate what are known as affirmation statements. Affirmations are self-statements that are positive in nature, directed toward yourself and are indicative of what you want to accomplish in the future, but stated as if you have already accomplished the goal. For example, if you have a marathon coming up this fall you may formulate an affirmation statement like, “I am excited about running the marathon and look forward to running a new personal best”.

                  Affirmations should be achievable and believable and very personal to you. “I run hills better than anyone,” “my training has prepared me to be super strong in the last half of the race,” and “I run great in extreme conditions like heat or rain, so just bring on race day” could all be considered positive affirmation statements that are real, in the present and enhance your self-worth and confidence as a runner. Repeat the affirmations enough and they become internalized, or in other words, you genuinely think about and believe the affirmations.

                  Another good way to develop positive affirmations is to write down and list of past running successes and running strengths. Just think back on all of the accomplishments you have achieved in your running and all of the things you do well.  By writing down specific running accomplishments it helps you to review and relive previous positive experiences. By recalling your past success it serves as a reminder of just how capable you are as a runner and how your hard work can really pay off. Be honest and look back on all the things you have done well in your running. Don’t be modest; give yourself the credit you rightfully deserve!

                  Be sure your affirmation statements are positive in nature and are written for action and what you want to do. Instead of a statement like, “I can run well on a hilly course”, make it in the present and directed to real action, like, “I run well on hilly courses”! Other examples might be, “I relax and focus during the race”, “My long runs make me strong at the end of races”, or “I maintain my pace consistently”. All of these statements help to enhance confidence and reach running goals.

                  Try to formulate and write down as many positive affirmation statements as you can and then choose which are the most important ones to you and your running performance. Everyday write the statements out on a piece of paper and post them where you can see them often. Somewhere like on your desk, bathroom mirror or the dashboard of your car. You may even want to write your positive affirmations on a note card or put them on your phone screen so that you see and read them when your have a spare moment or two.

                  One method that I have found to be very effective in utilizing affirmation statements is to write out a series of individual affirmation statements on small pieces of paper. If you can come up with around thirty, even though some may be nearly the same, you can have an affirmation statement for each day of the month. Put the individual pieces of paper with affirmation statements in a small box or envelope and put it beside your bed. Each morning remove one affirmation statement from the box or envelope and read it out loud. Keep it with you during the day and look at it and read it often. Do this each day for the entire month. By the end of one month you may be surprised at just how much better you feel about your running and how much your confidence has increased. Give it a try!

                  By constantly looking at and repeating affirmation statements they become embedded in the conscious and unconscious mind and will often flow back into consciousness during training runs and races. The affirmations become your dominant way of thinking. To take affirmation statements to another level try recording the affirmation statements on your phone or MP3 and listen to them during the day, before you run or even during your run if hearing traffic is not an issue. Hearing your own voice repeating these positive statements can have a powerful impact on your thinking patterns, especially when you are under stress. The positive affirmations will flood back into your consciousness when they are needed the most.

                  So don’t be afraid to affirm your running greatness. Use affirmations to bring your confidence and motivation to their highest levels. Remember you become what you tell yourself you will become, so always affirm that you are a great runner with many more great running achievements to come!     


Richard Ferguson is Chair of the Physical Education, Wellness, and Sport Science Department at Averett University and is an AASP Certified Sport Psychology Consultant. He may be reached via e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Read more of Dr. Ferguson articles on -

What is Tired? -   

The Reason We Run -

Some New Recruits -   

Are You a RUNNER? -

A Different View -

The Components of Peak Performance -

Running and Sleep -

Don’t Panic! -

The Mental Maximization of Training -

With the Help of a Friend -

Beating the Winter Blues-

Go For It -

Beating Burnout -

A New Outlook -

Expect the Unexpected -

Pain or Discomfort ? -

Keep Your Eye on the Prize -

 Running Free -

Running and Role Models -

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