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Turning a Negative Into a Positive

April 13, 2012

Woohoo – it’s Friday afternoon! I can’t complain too much about this working week seeing as it’s been short, but the weekend is always very welcome. Yesterday evening I ran my second 11 mile run in as many weeks and it was extremely tough! I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it to be honest because my legs were very sore when I woke up yesterday morning, which I assume was a hangover from Tuesday’s speedwork session. Running a hilly 11 miles with a bad case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is not much fun. I was trailing behind the rest of my group for most of the time and I started getting a bit disheartened, but as a natural optimist I’ve turned those negative thoughts around into more positive ones.

Negative thought

I found the run really difficult – my legs were so heavy and just wouldn’t move as fast as I wanted them to. I felt as though I was going to have to give up.

Positive spin

I didn’t give up! I finished the run and 11 miles is always an achievement. My legs were sore because I’ve been working them really hard recently and I need to give them some TLC. It *was* a difficult run, with half of it up some pretty tough hills.

Negative thought

I was slower than everyone else in my group and I couldn’t keep up with them like last week.

Positive spin

I was running with some very good runners last night, some of whom dropped down a pace group in order to have an “easy run”. I have to accept that an easy run for another runner might be a hard run for me. I wasn’t as fast as last week, but I still finished with an average 9:13 min/mile pace, which is a big step up from my training pace only a couple of months ago.

Negative thought

I’m bigger than everyone else in the group, perhaps if I lost weight I’d be able to run faster and I would find it easier.

Positive spin

This thought needs some explanation. It was actually triggered by an overheard conversation between some male runners (I wasn’t joining in with any conversations … I was too busy huffing and puffing!), who were talking about how much weight they’d lost, how much they wanted to lose before their next race, how much they’d gained over Easter, how much a very skinny member of the club weighs. They’re was something about the fact that it was men talking like this, as well as how much I was struggling, that triggered the “dieting mentality”.

Luckily, I had 11 miles to set it all straight in my mind and get back round to thinking straight. I am a healthy weight, I eat well, and I exercise. My running has improved vastly in a year, and although losing weight *could* make me faster, so can consistent training and hard work. I don’t want to diet and go through all that palaver again.

From all this I’ve learned that tough runs happen sometimes, it doesn’t mean that I’m a bad runner. I sometimes need to let go of my competitive spirit of always having to keep up or be ahead of others. I need to work with what my body can do on the day.

So that brings me to operation recovery. Suffice to say my legs were a mess of soreness by the time I’d finished. Rose had tweeted me earlier in the day to suggest trying For Goodness Shakes immediately after the run. As luck would have it, the milk chocolate flavour was on offer in Sainsburys for £1, so I picked one up. I sipped it on the way home, along with a Nuun drink. It was delicious and went down very nicely considering my stomach had just been jiggled about for 11 miles.

It wasn’t planned, but when I got home I really fancied a cold bath. I learned my lesson from last time and wore many layers on my top, a pair of shorts, socks and gloves, as well as sipping on a cup of tea while I soaked for 10 minutes. Surprisingly it felt really good and the coolness soothed my tired legs.

For dinner I had prepared an oat and chia seed combo, made with Kara coconut milk, goji berries, raisins and protein powder. I topped with a chopped apple and then some greek yoghurt after I had taken the photo.


I ate this slowly so not to overtax my stomach. It was very tasty and the perfect post-run meal. I made sure that I drank plenty of fluid before bed and took a couple of painkillers. And the verdict … it’s perhaps too early to tell, but I did sleep well (much better than last week), and although I’m tired I was able to function at work.

How do you deal with negative thoughts, do you try to see the positive side?

If you’re a runner how do you cope with difficult runs?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2012 6:34 pm

    “so can consistent training and hard work” you nailed it there. I passed a comment once to hubby and said “wish I could run faster” so he said ….. “well why don’t you then!”. Good point I thought but it will require some leg training to increase their turnover rate 😉
    Negative/positive: I have to acknowledge the negative, no good pretending its not there or never happened but like you I will spin it around my head for a while until I can find a resolution. I do believe if I surrounded and wallowed in negativity that is all my life would be …… and lets face it thats not going to be fun.

  2. April 13, 2012 7:53 pm

    I am very impressed with both your positive attitude and your kick-ass evening run. I’d struggle to cope with running in the evening too! (well, I couldn’t do it – my stomach would prohibit that unless I fasted all day, which would obviously cause its own problems!)

    I’m afraid I cannot see the positive in anything – I guess I’d rather think the worst and then never be disappointed?

    I’ve had every one of those thoughts you listed in relation to running: male runners are, if possible, as weight-focused as women. They are among the categories on men to focus most on weight and I find it very hard indeed not to pine for being at racing weight. I know I could be faster again with less excess pounds, but there is a point at which the thinner=faster principle reverses itself if you go to far. It’s also so hard to balance training needs, energy levels and a sufficient deficit to lose weight. I think your diet is pretty much perfect as it is – I’m not sure where you’d cut anything out!

    I love the look of your post-run meal 🙂


  3. April 13, 2012 8:35 pm

    Sarah, you’re doing such an amazing job with your runs. Keep at it and just have faith in yourself. You can do as well as anyone! Have a great weekend!

  4. April 14, 2012 12:07 am

    Great post 🙂 It makes me feel better about some of my own bad runs!! 🙂 Great job sticking it out when it was difficult.

  5. runningcupcake permalink
    April 14, 2012 7:38 am

    What a great post Sarah. You seem to be increasing your pace all the time, so the running club and all your training must be really helping you. And I think turning negative thoughts into positive ones is such a good thing to do. I normally think of a different positive- eg if I am finding a run hard, I just think of how I am at least out running whereas most people are in bed/ watching TV etc.
    And as for bad runs, I know that they happen, and sometimes it is hard to pin point the reason, so I just look forward to the next one, and know that it will be better. 🙂

  6. April 14, 2012 9:46 am

    Sarah I really really admire your determination and your ability to turn everything into a positive 🙂 I’m also so impressed by these 11 mile runs, to me it sounds like an impossibly long way!

    I love drinking chocolate milk after tough workouts, it always makes me feel better afterwards, I actually think it helps keep DOMS down.

    Lately I have to admit that I’ve been struggling with negative thoughts and finding it difficult to see the positives but I will carry on fighting and shall take a leaf out of your book!

  7. April 14, 2012 9:52 am

    I think your amazing for running on an evening full stop! I love your positive attitude, I try and look at things in exactly the same way, every cloud has a silver lining in my experience!

  8. April 14, 2012 7:31 pm

    I think being able to crack out 11 miles mid week in the evening and then go to work the next day is a feat in itself. Well done girl! 🙂

  9. April 15, 2012 1:04 pm

    I love your way of turning things round, especially the male runners’ conversation, which you got spot on afterwards.
    I know nothing about running but would have thought that some runs must have to be harder than others because as you make progress, you find things easier and have to move on to another challenge? Plus, I agree with the other comments, running that far after work is amazing in itself 🙂

  10. April 16, 2012 9:05 am

    Great work on your positive front! I hate having a bad run, I had one a few weeks ago, and I was so upset when I got home. You just have to pick yourself up and forget about it, everyone has a bad one now and again.

  11. April 16, 2012 10:43 am

    I am exactly the same and see a positive in every negative. I do think it is the best way to deal with issues that may arise.

  12. runningcupcake permalink
    May 21, 2012 6:51 pm

    Hi Sarah- how are you doing? Hope everything is OK and you are busy enjoying life- just thought today that I had not read a blog post from you in a while and hope that you are OK. x

  13. August 10, 2012 8:22 pm

    Great job on your race! I love chia seeds, check out this recipe 🙂

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