Try this mental exercise from sports psychologist JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D. to shake off thoughts that are dragging you down.
Step #1: Take a piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the center.
Step #2: Think of all the negative thoughts you have about yourself and your running – I’m too slow to run that race, I’m not strong enough to try that workout – and write them on the left-hand side of the page.
Step #3: Look at the first negative sentence and ask yourself, “How can I coach myself through that?” One the right-hand side, write down a positive way to think about that fear. If you’re afraid you’re too slow, write, “There are runners of all abilities and I get faster every day.”
Step #4: Continue pairing every negative thought with a positive one until you’ve finished the list. You’ll immediately feel better. Save this paper to look at whenever doubts creep in.