Positive Mental Attitude from Nick Bishop - the rationale and some science too!

burnham start

As the government starts to ease lockdown, we may soon have the opportunity to return to structured training and gradually racing.

With that in mind, now is an ideal time to think about the mental side to our performance.

With improved knowledge and the science, you can build a clear focus of what you want to achieve as you return to group training and racing.

The Mental Approach…the saying 90% attitude and 10%ability really reminds us of the truth!

You can have all the knowledge in the world about the correct approach to training but if you do not believe in what you are doing and with a clear goal of what future success looks like, everything is wasted!

Our attitude is the biggest single factor in everything that we achieve in life…It transcends ability…Yet the strange thing is that we get to choose our attitude!

It’s the night before race day, but are you properly prepared?


It’s easy isn’t it? You train, you put in the miles and you fine tune according to the event that you have entered…Your next big challenge!

Race weekend arrives and your body is prepared…Reflecting on the adage “90% attitude and 10% ability” suggests that there might be one big area overlooked.

While natural ability and a thorough training schedule is clearly a prerequisite, the difference between great and good…good and average, is down to you in a far bigger way than previously imagined.

Any training programme undertaken is to prepare your body for the rigors and demands that any event will entail.Your training conditions the body for the performance.

You may have packed your bag the night before and picked your favourite outfit to wear…Picked some lucky socks, some gels,and a change of clothes…Nothing left to chance or is there?

While we will always prepare our bodies, we far too often overlook how we prepare ourminds (the 90%), and as a consequence, we waste the opportunities to be our very best.

We have conditioned our bodies, our hearts, and lungs, but have failed to condition ourthinking.  Conditioning draws on previous experiences, hence the need to modify ourtraining for specific events.

It is our mental conditioning that drives our beliefs (about any situation), which in turncreates our attitude to any situation that we face. Our attitude determines how we feel andour emotions…And it is from here that we generate behaviours andperformance…Performance over the coming weekend and race day! 

So, we need to start with our conditioning…How we think about ourselves. Our minds arefed from our subconscious which retains all manner of previous experiences…But the key isthat it does not differentiate between fact and fiction, only experiences and our take on them!

When we allow ourselves to be affected by a negative chain of events, the sub conscious will retain without question for the next time a similar situation happens…A bad run or apoor training performance.

Fact or fiction, the subconscious does not differentiate…But we can change the way that we think! We can condition our thinking. The more we stop listening to negative stimuli but replace with positive words and thinking, the more our conditioning will adapt and changefor the better.

Start by thinking about the many positive results you have had…A greatperformance, a personal best, how you felt as a result!

Use strong and expressive words and repeat them to yourself, as you reflect on the performance. By doing so, you are leaving these thoughts in your sub conscious for the next time you need to draw on them…Your next big challenge…90% attitude & 10% ability…Don’t forget to train the mind!

“Success will be within your reach, only when you start reaching out for it”.

Stephen Richards 

Let’s now put a little more thought behind the mind!Can dreams really come true…and is it actually our own actions?


Dreams in the context of this article can be considered as inspirational thoughts of what we want to achieve.

We cannot be motivated without powerful goals…It’s the creation of goals that motivate us to strive for the success that we so want. Without goals, we have no motivation. 

Part of any success that we achieve is the importance that we place on the event(s). One powerful way to succeed is the visualisation of the event/goal itself!

Whatever it may be,the creation of a powerful image and a picture of that success carefully planted in our mindsbecomes a very powerful form of motivation.

We can switch the image on at any time…Itbecomes a light leading towards our chosen goal.

If we think of affirmations as another form of motivation…powerful statements of usachieving our future success, but each statement written in the present tense as if thesuccess were happening right now. Strong powerful doing statements!

A simple mantra that we call upon when we need to reinforce our beliefs.When we use powerful tools to help us in our own future success, it is important that thesebecome part of our self-talk.

When we reflect on the title “Can dreams really come true”, it is quite apparent that theanswer is YES!

The more we store the thoughts in our mind and the images of our future success, the more we dreamabout them!

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requites faith and belief inyourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things arepossible for those who believe”

Gail Devers



The mental block. Perhaps the most important of all! And the one area that we can affect.

Our Conditioning…The thoughts that we have and from where we capture those thoughts (from external and internal sources), has the following effects…


Feelings & Emotions WHICH DRIVES OUR Behaviour (Performance).  

Change your conditioning…Change your performance 

Self-Talk…We have 70,000 thoughts each day. Change your self-talk, and thoughts to a "can do” attitude

Affirmations…Strong powerful statements that describe in the present tense our future success.

Visualisation…A powerful mental picture of how the future success will look. A video that

you can play at any time!

We are the product of our own beliefs…Start to change that now! 

Naturally, I am happy to answer questions for anyone but the rationale behind thisapproach is to give you the tools and knowledge to develop your own personal goals.

“It’s very hard at the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other

runners. Eventually, you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you

that wants you to quit”

George Sheehan