Running and Self Belief

“It’s odd hearing that from another person isn’t it?” I asked her. I had metaphorically slapped her in the face, in the hope of making a very important point.

I was sitting in my office with a student who had come to me very stressed about why she had failed an exam. I had asked her what had happened to which she replied “I walked into the exam, got extremely nervous and my mind went to water”.

“But why?” I pressed her.

“Because I’m terrible in exams”…

There it was; the answer to all her problems.

This girl is outgoing and confident in all other situations, but her SELF-TALK had betrayed her.

By telling herself that she IS TERRIBLE she had set up a brick wall blocking her success.

I had two options, I could tell her that she is wrong and that she just needs to relax, or I could agree with her and give her some tools.

If someone tells you one thing and you believe something different, then their advice is going to fall on deaf ears. The change needs to happen first in you!

My advice was to first change her physical state. Before going into the exam, she needs to smile, stand confidently and actually feel excited to be there. The next step is to tell herself that she knows the information; that she is going to do exceptionally well and to believe it completely. Then once her perception of what is going to happen has changed, her mind will be more able to find the answers and deliver them.

What does all this have to do with running? For some people, a lot!

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard people say the words, I’m not a runner or I can’t run.

Recently I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to help someone change that self-perception.

In 11 weeks they went from considering themselves a non-runner to running a Marathon, and pretty fast too.

To put this theory to the ultimate test, I am about take on a new challenge with an amazing woman by the name of Donna Campisi. Donna had a major Stroke at the age of 8 years old and lost the ability to walk let alone run. Since that time she has been through an amazing transformation to become the woman she is today. Currently Donna is able to run 30 steps without stopping. My goal for her is to run the Melbourne Marathon in October 2013. That gives me 11 months to help Donna get her self-talk right and with the help of the my team we are going to transform her into a Marathon Runner. In Donna’s own words, she is “excited and terrified at the same time”.


You are going to hear a lot more about Donna’s journey in the coming months and I look forward to seeing how her story will inspire everyone that follows along.

So for now pay close attention to what you are telling yourself. The words you use and the way you feel about them can make all the difference in your success in so many areas of your life.