Running and racing stressing you out? Here’s a suggestion to stay positive.

Newport Marathon Course Photo Credit: Amber Corsen

I care about my time at the 2015 Newport Marathon, so I'm going to run with Coach Jim's free Saturday training group all winter! (Photo of the Newport Marathon course.)
Photo Credit: Amber Corsen

One day at work, I gave all my employees a card that simply said, "Get to." The point of it was that often times, we end up feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by everything we "Have to" do. But if you change "Have to" to "Get to," you create a new perspective that makes tasks seem more appealing and less of a chore. Think of it like this: Your hall closet is a mess. You want it organized so you can easily find the right running gloves, your reflective vest, and not have multiple sports balls roll out at you every time you open the door. You know what the benefit of cleaning it will be, yet you still list it as a "Have to." Change it to, "I get to organize the hall closet this weekend," and you can change your attitude to be more positive and reward-focused.

There’s a similar trick to use when something is worrying you. It works well for me, when I’m nervous about a race, track workout or whether or not I can keep my pace on a long training run. Just change “nervous” or “worried” to “care about.” Then say it out loud, to yourself or anyone who will listen!

Before: “I’m nervous about my race next weekend.”

After: “I care a lot about my race next weekend.”

The key is in what comes next. When you are nervous about something, there’s really no action implied other than worrying, fretting, and getting yourself worked up. But when you care a lot about something, you are more likely to give that event the time and attention needed for the desired result.

Let’s look at it again:

Before: “I’m nervous about my race next weekend. I can hardly eat and I don’t know how I’ll sleep the night before.”

After: “I care a lot about my race next weekend. I am going to stick to my training plan and plan a really good menu for this week so I don’t have any GI issues on race day.”

Granted, you can still say you’re “nervous” or “worried” and have a plan of action. But by focusing on the positive, action-oriented things you can control, you’re putting your energy towards good emotions instead of wasting energy on the negative.

This will work in other aspects of your life, too. For example, change “I’m worried about how I can afford Christmas gifts this year” to “I care about giving my family a good Christmas experience this year, so I’m going to save $20 per week and plan some non-gift activities to make it extra special.” Or maybe, “I’m worried about my friend’s wife that is really sick” to “I care about my friend and his wife, so I’m going to cook them dinners and help out with yard work while she is recuperating.”

Try it. It’s a little thing that can change your perspective … something you “Get to” do to reduce your stress levels!

About Kelly Barten (1152 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.
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