Preview: Beyond the mantra

Reciting positive thoughts is all very well, but to really run your best, you’ve got to shout down your inner critic

by Michelle Hamilton

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.’ – John Milton, Paradise Lost.

At mile 19 of a marathon, exhausted, a little voice in my head whispered that it wasn’t meant to be. I was pushing for 3:30, a time I’d been chasing for years. It was a cool day and a flat course. Prime PB conditions, save for the voice in my head. ‘You’ve done your best,’ it said in a calm, caring tone. ‘It’s OK to slow down.’ I dropped to a shuffle and my 3:30 slipped away.

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