Kona Mental Skills Tip #2: Stay Positive

The energy was amazing today for our first full day in Kona. We started the day with an beautiful swim at Dig Me Beach and got some great shots by Triathlete Magazine. This swim course alone is worth the trip! The positive energy was flowing all day as we ran into old friends and met up with some new ones. Saw some of my Wattie Ink Teammate that are racing. This got me thinking about how important it is to keep a Positive Mental Attitude. I firmly believe that positivity begets positivity and likewise, negativity begets negativity. Thus the topic for Kona Mental Skill Tip #2: Stay Positive.


When I say, “stay positive,” I don’t mean that everything should be rainbows and sunshine, head in the clouds…No. That’s not life. Life is a mental balancing act and the goal is to try to stay as balanced as you can in your mind and body this week. Think of your thoughts like a scale.


“Staying positive” means changing, eliminating, or challenging negative thoughts, people, or situations so they don’t build up and throw you off balance. The goal is for every negative thought that you are aware of, try to counter it with a positive or neutral thought.  For example you may think,

“Oh my gosh my legs are tight today, what if they’re like this on Saturday?” (Negative thought. Enough of these could snow ball and tip the scales towards excessive worry, stress, and anxiety.)

Instead you could say, “My legs are tight today but that’s today. Saturday is a different day and time. They could feel great by then. I’ve trained for this.”

Do you notice the difference between the first and second statement. Hopefully you do, and if you said these to yourself which would feel better, probably the second one. Plus may I remind you that you are not a mind-reader and you do not have a crystal ball so in all reality NO ONE knows what Saturday is going to be like until Saturday comes. Give yourself a break a stop fortune telling negativity for Saturday.

Today you are 4 days out from race day and that is not where you need your mind to be.  Ask your self would it be easier to get out of a 3 ft deep hole or 6 ft? That’s what allowing negative thoughts are like. It is like digging a mental ditch and it gets deeper the more you allow too many negative thoughts or feelings go unchallenged.

Here are some tips to help you challenge negative thinking patterns:

  • Move away from either-orthinking to BOTH-ANDthinking. Such as, “I am doing the best I can and I need your support.” “I feel off today but this is taper and it comes with the process.”
  • Avoid extreme words such as: always, never, you make me/you made me, should (big no no).
  • Let go of black and white” “all or nothing” ways of seeing a situation.
  • Avoid assumptions and blaming, yourself or others.
  • Identify three positive character strengths and remind yourself daily of them. Know thy self, know thy strengths (everyone has them).
  • Never leave a negative statement go unchallenged.

Up until this point all your physical training is in the bank. However, you can still make deposits in your mental training bank that can help you make big pays off for race day! See you around the beach!



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Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is a clinical sport psychologist, triathlete, and certified mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California. She works with elite athletes and sports teams across the country. She is a competitive athlete and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family, and traveling.

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