Quiet the Chatter

“Your mind is your greatest power. Use it well.” ~Unknown

Sometimes during a workout or race, our minds start to have this internal banter with themselves…it’s like the devil is sitting on my right shoulder screaming negativity in my right ear and the angel is sitting on my left shoulder whispering positive come backs in my left ear.

Keep going-Just Quit

D: “You don’t really want to do this workout, so just don’t do it.”

A: “You will feel so much better after you complete the workout, so get it done!”

D: “This is hard. Just quit.”

A: “This should be hard, but I will be stronger. Don’t quit.”

D: “I am too slow.”

A: ” Keep working hard and I will get stronger and faster.”

D: “I can’t hold that power/pace.”

A: “Yes, I can. I am strong. I am tough.”

D: “I’m hungry. I need to stop.”

A: “I can survive for just another couple of minutes and then I can eat.”

D: “Why am I doing this?”

A: “I love to play and swim/bike/run is my playground! I feel AMAZING when I’m done.”

D: “I’m tired.”

A: “I should be tired, but I am strong enough to get through this workout.”

D: “You should just stop because these stomach cramps are BAD!”

A: “They will go away eventually. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Thanks to my mother for this constant reminder…)


How we deal with this internal banter can make us stronger or weaker. I hear the devil, but choose to listen to the angel. I try to make sure that I have a positive comeback for every negative thought that creeps into my mind. Sometimes it takes me a while to twist the negative into the positive, but that is what I focus on until those negative thoughts float away and positive ones take their place.

I have learned to expect the chatter to show up while training and racing. The devil voice in my head has tried to lure me to a more comfortable situations and environments. It often tries to undermine the angel. At times, it is my own worst enemy. But this voice has also made me stronger, tougher, resilient, more persistent and determined. It has taught me to better identify and manage what is pain and what is discomfort. It has taught me how to overcome obstacles and adversity. It has taught me to believe in me. When I embrace the chatter, I take control of the things within my control and let the rest go.

The key is to acknowledge the devil, but only listen to the angel. I have to rise up above myself, my doubts and my fears. Learning from the negative devil is key to my success. I expect to have moments in my journey that are awesome, but I expect to have even more that challenge me and push me to become a better version of myself. I know the devil will be screaming the loudest when I am at my weakest and am the most uncomfortable, but I have the ability and control to overcome those moments and outlast them. Eventually they will either dissipate or I will outlast them by completing the workout/race.

I’ve found the best way to manage the chatter is to keep moving forward toward my goals or the end of the workout/race…whichever comes first. If you keep moving forward, you might just surprise yourself with what you accomplish. Anything is possible if you quiet the negative chatter!!

Who do you listen to more during your workouts and races…the devil or the angel? How do you turn the negative into the positive?

22 thoughts on “Quiet the Chatter

  1. What IS it with that angel/devil banter??? I’m the type of person, though, both fortunate and unfortunate, that if something tells me to stop, I’ll do the opposite so they won’t have the satisfaction. It works in this instance. Most of the time! The best part is that you know how you’ll feel when you’re done toughing it out – like a rock star. You are also a very good role model for me – it’s tough, it’s hard, you don’t always want to do it, but you do anyway, and you’re better because of it. So thanks for that!!!

    1. Thanks Kelli 😘 I too am very much the type of person who will do everything in my power to do what others say I can’t…including that little devil. Feeling like a rockstar is the best reward for overcoming the challenges along the way!!

      1. We are planning to be in DM the Wednesday before you leave so let’s plan on it! We aren’t sure if we are passing through a night or staying two nights- I’m wanting to stay two.

  2. My chatter has been pretty negative. Once I’m about to train again, I need to up my mental game after all these years of disappointment.

  3. Hi Kecia, I introduced myself at Okoboji Tri last year, so you may (or may not) remember me. I have an interesting story to share with you that covers this week’s blog. If you are interested, let me know how to share it with you – its a small file.
    Thanks! Paul

  4. Great post!! Totally true!! I think that happens a lot!! Especially with the long distances!!
    I have had lots of races/training listening to the devil. I have also had lots with the angel.
    Funny you bring this up because on my way to my work out this morning I told Dan I don’t think that I want to do an IM next year….and after the work out(it want really well) I told him I wanted to re-think it!! 😉
    I try and stay positive and once a negative thought happens I try and turn it around!!
    Keep up the good work!! Being positive is always always better!! Can totally change your mood around!!

    1. Thanks Leslie! It’s funny how this can translate to other parts of our lives as well. IM in 2016…which one will it be?!?!?!

      1. I definitely have interest, but 2016 will NOT be a 140.6 year. I need to take a break and am looking forward to seeing how fast I can go on shorter distances. 2017 is a definite possibility 😉

  5. I need to do a better job of quieting the negative voice, especially lately. Thanks for the reminder that there is a positive voice too, and it’s up to me which one I listen to!

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