Coffee shop training for the Great North Run

Now that I’ve told everyone that I’m running the Great North Run (GNR), I suppose I actually need to get started with the training. While there’s a lot of physical training, I’m treating it as an opportunity to use all the tricks of my trade to improve my performance and deal with the mental aspects of running a half-marathon. I’m working on the assumption that the first place to run the GNR successfully is in my mind. From that perspective EFT, NLP and TAT will be really useful in training for the mental aspects of the run.


I’m not the first person to use EFT for running preparation Carol Tuttle an EFT coach in America used it to help her run 15 marathons in three years. I’m going to be borrowing some of her stuff and hopefully finding out things for myself.

I started my mental preparations in Costa’s coffee shop, by thinking about the whole business of running the GNR and noticing what negative thoughts arose when I thought about the training and the run itself.

Here’s a selection of limiting beliefs:

  • It’s too much work! (6)*
  • Training is hard! (4)
  • Training is boring! (6)
  • I’m too old for this! (4)

These were obvious limiting beliefs, but I’m sure it’s not all of them. It’s a funny thing about limiting beliefs but they’re often invisible to us, so familiar as to be part of our mental scenery. Fortunately there’s a really good way of forcing them out into the open using affirmations. Affirmations have been around in the self-help, personal development arena for years. They are a positive, present tense statement of how you want things to be, that you recite or write down.

  • I am slim and healthy.
  • I earn £X,000 per year
  • I am an excellent trainer | parent | husband | wife | etc, etc

The idea is to train your brain to persue these goals at an unconcious level, preparing your mind to do what’s necessary to achieve them. Opinions are divided about the value of affirmations, if they have worked for you then you’re probably a fan, if not you may well have dismissed them as deluded nonsense.

If you’re affirmation failed it’s probably because it ran aground on all the limiting beliefs you have about that issue lying just under the surface. Fortunately with EFT and other techniques we can do some dredging to make a clear path towards our goal.

Rather than reciting the affirmation relentlessly and hoping for a positive change we can create an affirmation and use it to provoke the underlying negative beliefs into awareness, where they can be resolved. When the negative beliefs have been resolved you’re far more likely to be able to incorporate and realise the positive affirmation.

This is approach I used. I constructed the following affirmation and repeated it a few times listening out for whatever negative thoughts came up. Gary Craig calls these negative affirmations ‘tail-enders’.

I comfortably and easily complete the GNR in 1 hour 59 minutes!

(Just to put this in context, my previous best time has been about 2 hours 30 minutes – so 1:59 is a bit of a stretch) When I recited this affirmation a couple of times the following thoughts arose:

  • You don’t know what your asking! (8)
  • You’re too heavy (6)
  • I’ll drop out half way through (8)
  • I’m afraid I’ll have to give up and drop out in front of all my sponsors (9)

A nice collection of limiting beliefs, so I’ve tapped on them and they are all at zero, that is to say, they are no longer in my way, psychologically speaking. I’m sure there are unhelpful beliefs just lurking around below the surface, as I find them I’ll eliminate them. In the end, no matter how many limiting beliefs I eliminate, I’ll still have to put on my trainers and run. I’ll keep you posted.

If you’re interested in the use of affirmations and EFT, they are described at great length in Gary Craig’s Palace of Possibilities series of articles.

* The numbers in brackets indicate how true or real these thoughts were on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is not true at all, and 10 is completely true. This is a scaling method that we use a lot in EFT and TAT work to calibrate how true or intense something is before we change it.

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