Training How movies and real life heroes inspire your running

How movies and real life heroes inspire your running


With the buzz around Academy-award winning movies carrying on, I’ve been trying to watch some of the movies that have won awards. I recently watched the movie Whiplash which won for Best Supporting Actor, and I was blown away by its intensity. Centred around an aspiring musician, Andrew Neiman and a conductor, Fletcher, who is determined to produce one of the best musicians in the world, the film delves into the tension-filled studio environment. Complete with chairs thrown at Andrew’s head and emotional abuse, Fletcher believes that,”there are no two words in the english language more harmful than good job”.

There’s no question that I believe in striving for your best. By challenging yourself you’ll discover what your best really is, but this movie takes it to a whole other level. As runners, we are often notorious for being hard on ourselves, sloughing off compliments and making it a struggle to truly believe in our ability. Yet a major factor in your success is that self belief. It might sound simplistic, but scientific research tells us that self belief is a key factor that plays into our ability to accomplish our goals.

As it turns out, having a positive belief in our ability can influence our effort, persistence and mental state. Since the 80s, the field of sport psychology has been researching factors that influence an individuals belief in him or her self. Researchers have asked the question: when someone has a really strong belief in their ability to be successful, what factors are playing into that belief? Four factors including enactive mastery, vicarious experience, social persuasion and physiological factors.

Think about how many times you’ve decided how fast or how slow you were going to run, even before you laced up your shoes. So how can you move the needle on self-belief in a positive direction? Drawing inspiration from others, through vicarious experience, is one factor that can influence your belief. In fact, seeing another person achieve their goal is a great way to get a boost in your own confidence and can ultimately sky rocket your success.

Terry Fox 3 013_followed by cars
In the latest issue of iRun Magazine, Terry Fox was celebrated and he has undoubtably been one of the most inspirational figures in Canadian history. Thirty-five years after running over 5,000 kilometres in 143 days, in order to raise funds and awareness for cancer, Terry Fox’s admiration continues to run deep. He relentlessly pursued his goal and pushed himself to unbelievable lengths, he truly personified mental toughness. Terry’s legacy lives on and the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $650 million in Terry Fox’s name. Drawing on others’ successes, including Terry, will enhance your belief in yourself. The next time you are nearing the end of a run, think of Terry and his relentless determination; better yet, make the Terry Fox Run your goal and draw confidence from the strength and courage of an inspirational Canadian.

Over the course of the next month, I’ll tackle the other factors that will help you increase your belief in yourself and bring out your best running!

About Jennifer Perrault

Jennifer is a former gymnast turned sprinter turned middle distance runner. She recently completed a Master’s in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa where she studied sport psychology. She holds a Bachelor Degree in psychology from the University of Western Ontario where she was captain of the Track and Field team. She continued her running career with the Gee Gees and is the 2012 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Champion in the 1000m. She is passionate about bringing athletes to a new level of performance through mental skills training. Jennifer believes that enhancing mental performance is about sharpening these mental skills to help athletes constantly challenge themselves to be better.

Connect with Jennifer on Twitter, @jen_perrault, or visit her website!