How Self-Talk Can Improve Your Running and Your Life

Jenna Gleeson Counselling

What is self-talk?

Self-talk is what we say to ourselves in response to any particular situation that mainly determines our mood and feelings.

What does it have to do with running or my life?

Imagine two runners on their Tuesday night run in a Vancouver rain storm. One runner perceives herself as rushed, wet and miserable, and says things to herself like, “I can’t do this” or “this hill is too big tonight.” What she feels is frustration, anger and maybe even failure. The other runner perceives the situation as an opportunity to do something for herself or a chance to wash away the stress of her day. She says statements to herself like, “you got this”, “you feel strong on this hill” or “nothing is going to hold me down.”  She feels motivated and a sense of accomplishment. In both cases, the situation is exactly the same, but the…

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In order for Change to occur Consistency needs to be present…simple right?


There are so many inspirational quotes at present referring to personal growth, desiring a change and habit forming. The majority states that the key to perform this “change” is through consistency. On the face of it that is simple right? Just keep doing what you need to do and the change your’re seeking will materialise. No one actually states how difficult it is to be consistent when it is against your natural being.

So for example how easy is it to be consistent to go to the gym to bring the change of desired body. How many excuses do you tell yourself or lack that motivation? Have a few good weeks then just stop? Want the desired body but actually do not like exercising.

How easy is it to be consistent to enforce that consequence with your child when they appear to have “learned their lesson” or appears to be remorseful?

How easy is to stick to that routine when in fact all you want to do is relax?


How easy is it to be consistent when you are a laid back person? Being consistent takes up a lot of energy that is not spoken within all inspirational quotes. I have not deciphered at this present moment in time whether this is positive energy or negative energy however in my opinion it is exhausting nonetheless.

Kenneth Blanchard appears to provide some depth to the concept of consistency implying that the true route to change is commitment to the desire. In my opinion in order to be committed the concept of energy and time proposed to give to desires change still needs to be analysed.

Therefore if you want to make that change the first question that should be asked is how much do I actually want this? Is this an actual goal or is this what society tells me I should do? How much energy am I able to put into this change? Maybe designated time should be given to changing one behaviour at a time rather than trying to change the world (inner self) all at once. Even God (if Christian and believe) rested on day 7.

Managing constructive criticism

It dawned on me how difficult it can be to hear “constructive criticism”, whether it is in the work place, from a friend or a partner. How well do you respond to someone saying “well that’s not right” or “you could do it this way” or simply “start over “? even if it is embellished in the ABA sandwich approach (positive, criticism, positive).

This got me reflecting how much our defences gets in the way of actually hearing what the other person is trying to say to us. At first I thought it was the cliché of “it’s not what is said but how it is said” however I am beginning to realise this may not be true. How often do we consider ourselves to be open-minded, willing to improve, and often seek advice, yet the first person who states “well actually…” we become hot and immediately begin to defend our stand point. So often we are told be confident in our decision-making, and to stay strong in our conviction however the true challenge is to process what the individual is saying whilst not loosing your inner self. WHAT A CHALLENGE THAT IS!

We are asking our minds to conduct two processes at once. There is a danger when we are so strong with our convictions we lose the notion of personal growth and insight, however we listen to constructive criticisms and take them as gospel truths we also lose our inner self, autonomy and core beliefs in that particular situation.

So the question is does defences have a place in listening to constructive criticism? This is my personal opinion but I would say YES. The trick is to TAKE TIME. This is something that some individuals of today often find difficult to possess. How often do we react without thinking based on our defences? How often do we stop to analyse the feeling of what/why our feelings are as such? How often are we able to say “let me think about that” and then give us sometime to reflect. So I say next time you feel that hot sensation, or that feeling of not feeling good enough when being criticised try stopping, thinking, analysing before reacting and see what the outcome may be.

Beyond the fear

So I am late in watching The Dark Knight Rises. Brilliant film.

What came up for me by watching this film was the meaning of fear. What behaviours and thought processes develop because of these fears? How is our fears conquered?

There is a part of the film (anyone who hasn’t seen it and doesn’t want to hear anything about it stop reading now) where a child is trapped in an underground jail and was the only person able to escape by climbing out. Many after tried but failed.

Many individuals tried to escape by wrapping a rope around their waist as a means of providing safety in case they fall. Bruce Wayne attempted this technique until it was suggested to try it like the child – without the rope

Bruce, (like most of us if we were in the same situation) believed by knowing and acknowledging the fear – dying in  the cave – would be enough motivation to find the strength to get out however the film demonstrated that It actually takes more than acceptance and acknowledgement.

That rope symbolised a safety net, a plan B. A safety net which holds us back and keeps us in that place of fear. When we have a rope (safety net) we do not have to really let go. The idea of having truly nothing left to lose is a powerful concept. This reminds me of the film Pursuit to Happiness starring Will Smith and his struggles/fears. When you are truly down and out with really nothing left to lose this feeling can be a positive factor to encourage that motivational drive.

How many of us is truly capable of fully letting go? How many of us is capable of taking that risk and not having a safety net? What could we actually achieve if we didn’t?

The Rat Race

The world we live in is consumed with how much we can do in a space of 24 hours.

Spending time with family and loved ones, Fitting in time for recreational activities to feel as though working to live and not living to work. Working hard to get to “the top” (what ever that means).

What are we chasing? Money? Status? When we get to the “top” will we be satisfied? In the words of the infamous rapper Notorious B.I.G “more money more problems”

So what are we chasing…happiness? Inner fulfilment? What do these look like?

I believe that happiness is a state of mind. How many of say “if only…” “if only we had a car” “if only I can go on holiday once a year” “if only I made this decision rather than that decision”. The “if only” leads us to a place of self-doubt which robs us of seeing a situation for what it really is. A moment in time. A situation which can be appreciated as an experience whether good or bad.

Always feeling like something needs changing, I believe can be detrimental to our mental health so the question is how do we get out of this rat race.

My Valentine

It has come to my attention how important celebrating Valentine’s day can be for people.

As a child, the day meant it was a chance to let the object of your desire know your true feelings. As an adult it’s a day to highlight to your loved one how much you appreciate them.

So what happens if you are not in a relationship…thoughts can run through the mind of not feeling loved, nor lovable. This day can have undesirable affects on the psyche…

Who says that the “outsiders” have to show us that we are loved. We are already in the most important relationship…ourselves. Instead of waiting to be wined and dined by others, or sent chocolates and flowers from the “other”. Appreciate yourself first. Love you first, and have a day with you first.