This is an article I wrote on my Hypnosis For Running blog that is really relevant to be shared here too, enjoy:

Further to my previous article whereby I introduced the notion of self-efficacy and some of the studies and papers that supported the notion of advancing self-efficacy. At the end of that article, I mentioned a number of ways to go about doing that and the article contained lots of links to additional resources and subjects already covered here on this blog.

At the end, I also mentioned the use of self-hypnosis and I wanted to share with you a session outline that incorporates a number of key ways to advance self-efficacy. That is what today’s article is all about.

The focus of this session is to develop belief in your running ability and to advance your ability to perform in a particular upcoming event, race or even a demanding training session. So there needs to be a point of focus; prior to starting with the session therefore, have a think about an upcoming race, or a major training session or a desired outcome of some kind for your running.

Due Diligence:

You are going to be really diligent with this process; which is going to serve you very well indeed.

There is some preparation to complete prior to starting this self-hypnosis session; take a pen and paper and remind yourself of some previous successful races, or remind yourself of the time you achieved a personal best performance. If you have not raced before, then you can simply remind yourself of some good runs you have been on, perhaps whereby you felt good, fit and well. Then think of a runner you admire and that you’d like to aspire to be like. It does not matter if it is a world-record holder that you may not realistically actually compete with; you just want to have an idea of a runner you admire. Next up, jot down the names of three people who know you well, who you like to be proud of you, or who believe in your capabilities.

Then finally, write down a positive cognition that you can repeat to yourself when you are at the running event. This is something that you are going to affirm to yourself. A self-statement that is motivating and inspiring, not too dissimilar to a mantra, but it is a positive statement that you use within your internal dialogue that when said with real belief and conviction is going to help you tap into the benefits of this self-hypnosis session. For example:

“I can do this”
“I am capable of achieving this”
“I believe in me”
“This is what I trained for”
“Lets do it!”

Ideally make it more specific to you and less generic than these examples which are purely designed to give you an idea of what I am referring to.


Prior to starting, make sure that you are in a quiet(ish) place where you won’t be disturbed for the duration of this session. Be sat upright, in an attentive posture with the crown of your head directed toward the ceiling, your feet flat on floor and your hands by your sides or in your lap and not touching each other. Then follow these simple steps:

7 Steps To Advance The Runners Self-Efficacy:

Step One:

Induce hypnosis. You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my self-hypnosis book, use the free audio at this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:

Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method. 

Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis.

The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method.

Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction.

Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis.

The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction. 

Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.

Step Two:

Now start to recall one of your successful runs, or that time when you achieved a personal best, or any time whereby you felt accomplished as a runner.

Imagine being there, running at that place; see the sights of the place, the colours, the shades of light, the details. Hear the sounds in detail (the sounds of your footsteps and your breathing, the sounds of far away noises and those close-up too). Notice how you feel and what sensations you have in various parts of your body.

Tell yourself that the more you imagine being in this place, the deeper you go into hypnosis. Tell yourself that with each imagined step you take, you go deeper into hypnosis and are more responsive.

As you run, notice all the things that tell you that you are running well, notice the details and distinctions which let you know that this is a good run and remind yourself of what you accomplished here with this run. Remind yourself of how capable you are and that you ran really well here on this occasion.

Be sure that you do not give excuses or attempt to tell yourself ‘why’ you happened to do well on this occasion, simply know that you ran well and that you are capable of this. Imagine the sense of capability is a feeling that is spreading through you and you are getting more and more used to it.

Enjoy this for a while and then move on to the next step.

Step Three:

Inside your mind now, remind yourself of a runner or some runners who you admire and who run really well. This may be peers, or it may be elite athletes, or it may be someone from history that has inspired you previously.

Play a film clip of them running inside your imagination. Observe what that runner is doing and what it is about them that tells you they are doing well. Take a few moments and just watch, observe and become absorbed in that person running well.

Again, here it is important not to compare yourself, or attribute any contrast of this runner’s ability to your own, and you are not to think that they are better than you – you simply observe and allow them to inspire you. Enjoy watching and get a sense of how they move the body when they run, consider the thoughts they have, consider the belief that runner has in himself/herself.

Think of what you can learn that will benefit your own running. Then when you feel that you have learnt from observing that runner(s), move on to the next step.

Step Four:

Imagine and think about those three people that know you well. Imagine that they are with you, or standing in front of you. See them, how they look upon you, notice the look in their eyes. Then imagine them, one at a time, telling you how capable you are, and that they are proud of you. Imagine them telling you that you can do this, you can achieve what it is that you are setting out to achieve.

Imagine them telling you this in a way that you find convincing; let them persuade you of what they are telling you. Find yourself believing what they say.

This is not flattery, this is them telling you the truth and sharing with you their belief in you. You then accept this without deflecting. Be convinced by them, let them influence your own belief in yourself. When you have allowed them to convince you of what they say, move on to the next step.

Step Five:

Imagine being at the future event, the future race, or training session, or competition, whatever it may be.

See yourself with the right level of intensity and energy. See yourself being balanced with the optimum level of intensity – high enough to perform well, and relaxed enough so as not to impair your performance. Trust that you know how to do that. As you look at yourself at the event, think to yourself “I just know that is going to happen” – think it, know it, believe it. Convince yourself undeniably that this is the way you’ll be on the day.

Keep imagining being at the future event, keep imagining seeing yourself being balanced and with the optimum amount of race intensity, then move on to the next step…

Step Six:

Still watching yourself, now step into those shoes and become that balanced version of yourself at that event. See the sights, hear the sounds and enjoy the optimum feelings.

Now state your positive cognition to yourself in a convincing way. Affirm your positive statement to yourself, say it to yourself with real belief; almost as if you were encouraging a loved one or a friend to do well in something, say it to yourself with a depth of conviction.

Say it and repeat it until you really notice it positively influencing your feelings and when you feel sure about this future event, then enjoy those feelings for a while before moving on to the final step.

Step Seven:

Exit hypnosis. Either count from one through to five or just wiggle your fingers and toes and take a few energising breaths and open your eyes while you re-orient yourself.

Remember all that you did within the session, bring the positive feelings with you and keep them with you when training and working towards your event. Practice this session regularly in the build up to the event, also using the words to yourself while training for it and when at the event itself.

The aim is that during your preparation, you advance your belief in yourself and your own abilities as a runner. This in turn advances your ability according to self-efficacy theory and the evidence supporting it (as written about in previous entry) so that you train well and perform to the best of your ability at the event itself.

Go run, go advance your self-efficacy. I’ll be back soon.

For lots of specific, specialist hypnosis audio tracks (just a couple of quid!), advanced psychological tools for running, my book and audiobook to help runners use hypnosis and sports psychology to advance their running performance, visit the Hypnosis for Running page at our store, you’ll love it there!