Cliff Pittman Knows A Positive Mindset Can Reach Beyond Race Results


My guest on the show today is Cliff Pittman, a runner for about 25 years but only recently has he began seriously racing.

Cliff is also a running coach whose area of expertise is helping his athletes with their mindset.

I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Cliff Pittman today.

Cliff Pittman

Made To Run

Cliff Pittman has a long history with running that dates back 25 years.

Cliff has always had a smaller than average build which has benefitted his running over the years.

He was first introduced to the sport in fifth grade when he joined the cross country and track teams.

Cliff experienced some success at an early age when he qualified to run at the national level for various events.

By the time he reached high school, the playing field began to even out and Cliff had more competition.

The quarter-mile was his sweet spot and he still had success at that distance during his high school years.

During his senior year, his running was abruptly halted when he tore his hamstring.

Colleges that were previously interested in recruiting him lost interest which forced Cliff to come up with an alternate plan.

A Tough Transition

After Cliff’s plans to run in college changed he then turned his sights on a military career.

Cliff enlisted into the army at the age of 17 and spent the next 10 years serving the country.

During his years in the army, Cliff didn’t do much running but he did improve his weight lifting.

His normally slight build changed and he exited the army with a larger and stronger body.

Cliff struggled to transition to everyday civilian life and found himself falling into an unhealthy lifestyle and mindset.

During his search to find himself again he discovered CrossFit in 2012.

Crossfit would turn out to be the catalyst that would bring Cliff back to running.

Cliff Pittman Racing

A New Chapter

In 2015 Cliff met his wife who was also a personal trainer and a USATF triathlon coach.

He convinced her to try a CrossFit workout with him and it was during the workout that she saw his running potential resurface.

She convinced him to do a triathlon and it was after that first race that he fell in love with the endurance community.

Shortly after his first tri, Cliff signed up for the Dallas marathon.

His training leading up to the marathon was drastically different than what he would recommend now.

Cliff prepared for the marathon by running minimal mileage and lifting heavy.

Though the marathon was less than ideal, Cliff was once again hooked on the sport.

Unfinished Business

After finishing the marathon, Cliff still had unfinished business with the triathlon.

He signed up for a Half Ironman in 2016 and overcame his fear of open water swimming.

Cliff is a father to 4 children and found himself getting stretched thin due to family, work, and training.

He took a break from racing and focused on building his aerobic base.

Cliff re-entered the racing scene this past year and competed in his first 50k.

Next up is the Dallas marathon where he hopes to get a Boston qualifying time and also go sub 3 hours.

At 35 years old Cliff’s running journey is just beginning.

He also made the leap to quit his corporate career to focus on coaching athletes full-time.

Cliff Pittman On The Trails

Buying Into The Process

As Cliff learned first hand while he was building his base, running at an “easy” pace isn’t always so easy.

Slowing down pace is crucial to building an endurance base but many runners struggle with it.

Cliff is a big fan of hard scientific data and seeing the numbers helped him “buy into the process.”

If an athlete he is coaching still needs a workout “fix,” Cliff will often incorporate strides into the training.

When done correctly strides are an easy way to incorporate some speed while base building.

Cliff’s ultimate goal for his endurance athletes is to expand on their ability to maintain speed for longer durations.

When working towards a goal, athletes should keep their minds focused on the purpose.

Questions an athlete should ask themselves are “what are you training for” and “what do you want to get out of it.”

Mindset Can’t Be Overlooked

For years Cliff overlooked the importance of mindset.

That all changed in 2016 when he began to be fascinated with the large role the mind plays in life as a whole.

Cliff joined the John Maxwell team and obtained his coaching certification.

Cliff uses the self-coaching model he learned when working with his athletes.

Anyone can use the model and apply it to any area of life to coach themselves through a problem.

Emotions will always lead to one of three things: action, inaction, or reaction.

Positive thoughts will always create positive emotions.

Emotions are powerful and will lead to results or lack thereof.

Cliff Pittman And His Smallest Fan

Positive Affirmations = Positive Results

In order to change the way one thinks, the mind needs to be reprogrammed.

Cliff suggests starting with being present in the moment.

When a negative outcome occurs ask yourself what emotions led to that negative reaction.

Next Cliff suggests creating a list of positive affirmations.

There can be multiple affirmation lists for different areas of your life.

The affirmations need to be purposeful and specific to the things an individual is struggling with.

Over time the affirmation list can and should evolve to reflect ever-changing goals and progress that is being made.

Above all surround yourself with people that have a positive influence on your goals and the person you want to be.


Mentioned In This Episode:

Make sure to stay connected with Cliff Pittman by following him on Instagram.


Cliff Pittman has over 25 years of experience in the sport of running. As a coach, he knows the importance of a positive mindset. Anyone can train their brain to achieve positive results. Click To Tweet


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