Last month I talked a bit about mantras and mental training, today I want to give you another tip for mental training--fake it till you make it!
There are a ton of studies out there that show that first you change your actions, then you change your thoughts, then you change your beliefs. If you read the book Bravey by Alexi Pappas, she talks about this too.
You can apply this to anything in your life. But today, we're talking about how it applies strictly to running.
If you see the speed work or the tempo sections of the long run and think, "I can't do that, I'm not fast enough/strong enough/ready for that yet" then alter the workout so it's easier and more manageable, you will NEVER be ready to do that faster pace or longer run.
Instead of thinking you can't and modifying the workout (or skipping it altogether), just go and do what you can. Do the thing, the action. Try to run the faster pace or get in the longer miles. You might fail, even a couple of times. But eventually, you will get faster. The more you DO the thing, the more you will think all right, let's go do this hard thing.
After enough times doing that, you will BELIEVE that you can do that hard workout.
I struggled with this for a long long time. I still do, but I'm constantly working at just trying the hard thing instead of making it less scary or seem easier. We can do a lot more than we give ourselves credit for.