You may have been running for a while now, but appear to have hit a brick wall when it comes to beating your personal best – or making any achievements of any kind. Or you may be trying to start training, but the cold and gloom is putting you in a bad mood, so you just want to curl up on the sofa.

This negative psychology can significantly affect your running and impede you from reaching your goals. As you begin to appreciate the importance of your mindset, however, you’ll improve and you’ll wonder what all the pessimism was about.

First, you’re going to have to make some changes to your lifestyle. How can that be achieved? I’ll tell you.

1. Surround yourself with positive people

Is your “friend” being a mean old so-and-so who brings you down all the time? What about your brother or sister?

You need to get rid of them. Each and every one of them. Write a list, and cross them off. Block them from Facebook. They’re not worth your time.

Now, here comes the more appealing part: finding the good people, and building a relationship with them. It sounds hard, but it’s not. Whether they’re family, friends, or strangers. Become a people person, and you’ll never have a bad day in your life (maybe not true). But, these people will be there for you when you need them the most. They won’t mess you around. They also won’t leave you when someone better comes along.

Remember: positivity is essential when it comes to running and training for marathons.

2. Think of things you appreciate in life

Think about all the good things in life – from your dog to your mother; your beliefs to your wealth; your fish to your kettle; and your lamp to your computer.

Now, let’s look at it from a perspective that reminds us how damn lucky we are.

Half of the world’s population (a staggering 3-4 billion people) live on less than $2.50 a day. Congratulations, you’re better off than half the world. You made it. You didn’t necessarily do anything, but it worked. Good job.

Now, if the African children who have close to nothing can be happy, why can’t you? Providing you have no legitimate mental disorder, of course.

What I’m trying to say is… you’ve got it good… real good. Make the most of it, because it can end at any time, whether you like it or not.

3. Set realistic goals

When it comes to your marathon running goals, let’s face it – beating the Kenyans is far from realistic… unless you’re Kenyan yourself. These guys are born to run. People like myself are born to sit around and eat chocolate all day.

However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. When you set an unrealistic goal, and fail miserably at all your attempts to reach it, you begin to doubt yourself.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t challenge yourself, but take it one step at a time.

Start with small targets, and build your way up. It’s more fun that way.

If you’re like me, being happy isn’t always easy, and this can have disasterous effects on your running. Life can be pretty damn hard at times; tragedies happen; disappointment is common; but you have a choice in whether you let disappointment consume you, or whether you just suck it up and get on with things – and burn off all those negative Nancies while you’re at it.

Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast with a first-hand insight into the mental edge you need
to finish your first marathon. He’s compiled some of his best tips into a free download you can get on his website at