5 Reasons Why Self-Talk On The Run Is Working

Hoppe Feet explains the five conditions under which she engages in self-talk while running.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Pro Tip: Try Talking To Yourself

Runners do many seemingly “crazy” things. We subject ourselves to extreme weather conditions, wear nipple guards and eat strange foods that we call “fuel.” We run until our toenails fall off, obsess over our pre-race routines…and sometimes, we even talk to ourselves. While it may seem absurd, there are actually five very sensible reasons why runners engage in self-talk:

  1. Take it easy. There are some runs when I am tired, exhausted and struggling to keep a pace that’s normally easy. On those runs, it often helps to tell myself “it’s okay.” For some reason, hearing myself say encouraging and kind words aloud helps me stop obsessing about my horrible run, and actually allows me to take it easy.
  2. Pick up the pace. In that same sense, in moments when I need to push myself, I’ve found that whispering or repeating a motivational mantra can be just as effective as a sideline coach! That extra nudge of encouragement can be just what I need to pick up my pace and finish strong. Some of my personal favorites are quite simple, like, “Keep it up!” and “You got it, Steph!”
  3. Scare tactics. From dogs, deer, geese and lizards to bats, magpies and snakes, I’ve had my fair share of encounters with “threatening” creatures on my runs. One method of thwarting their attacks is telling them to “beat it.” Although this is technically not “talking to myself,” I often feel a bit crazy when I do so.
  4. Singing aloud. I routinely find myself on a run with a song stuck on repeat in my head, even when I’m not actually listening to music. On more than one occasion, I’ve been so engrossed in my run that I didn’t even realize I was singing the tune aloud. Depending on the song, this form of self-talk can help me keep a steady pace or increase my speed.
  5. Phone a friend. I’m pretty accustomed to running with other people, so I’m used to talking to others during my runs. While this is not technically talking to myself, I think that it still deserves a spot on this list. Whether we’re encouraging each other, talking about life or simply chatting about the current run, being able to share a run with others is one of my favorite aspects of running.


Set Yourself Up For Success With These 10 Confidence Boosting Tips

This Is How You Kick Negative Self Talk Out The Door

The Top 3 Self-Sabotaging Habits Of Runners