Mind Over Matter
Just as you work out your body, you must also exercise your mind.
Distance running can be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical test of strength and fitness.
Do you sometimes feel that your body is willing to run longer, but it’s too hard mentally to keep going? Follow these techniques to help make things easier.
- Will give you that extra edge if you are already pushing your physical boundaries. May even help squeeze out a personal best on race day.
- It is quick – prepare for every possible scenario by practising for as little as 5 minutes a day.
- It is a great confidence booster and high confidence correlates to an increased level of performance. By visualizing yourself succeeding, you can subconsciously improve your belief in yourself and your abilities.
- You can do it anywhere, anytime and with no equipment. This means it is inexpensive.
This is the easiest technique to master so why not give it a go.
- Be Specific and Detailed
On race day imagine yourself at the start line, imagine the other race entrants, imagine the energy and nerves. Envision all possible scenarios and the more specific you can be with the sites, sounds, and emotions, the more calm and confident you’ll be when you actually get there.
- Positive and Negative scenarios
Conjure up images of yourself working through the hard patches as well as being victorious in your goals. This way you’ll know exactly what to do if your shoe becomes untied or you have to go the bathroom.
Focus On What You Can Control:
- Direct your attention to outcomes you can control, like executing your race plan or going through your warm-up routine. By directing your thoughts to physical aspects that you can control nerves will dissipate and you will increase your chances of success.
- Picture It – every mile of the race, crossing the finish line, how you want to pose for your photo as you run over the line, the clock with your goal time
displayed. Anything that may happen, picture it.
Other techniques to practice:
Begin with a few minutes of deep abdominal breathing. Put one hand on your stomach and feel it rise and fall with each breath.
Use vivid imagery in your mind to help you achieve your goal. Avoid distraction and reduce stress as you focus on this. Use it gain energy and remove any potential errors.
If you’re running alone and struggling, give yourself a pep talk. Tell yourself that you’re not physically tired – you’re just mentally fatigued and you can push through it.
- Find a Mantra:
Picking a short phrase, such as “One step at a time” that you play over and over in your head while running can help you stay focused and acts as your inner motivation when you need it most. Self-affirmation is key to improving mental strength so choose short positive phrases like “I am fit” or “I know I am fast” to say when you need extra encouragement.
- Break Up Your Run:
Dividing up your run into smaller segments will make the distance feel much more manageable. For the 10km maybe putting it into miles may help (6miles) – this can be broken into start (2miles), middle (2miles) and finish (2miles). Visualize yourself just starting out on a new run with fresh legs with the start of each section.
- Counting Games:
Pick out a specific article of clothing, such as a white running hat, and count how many runners are between you and that white hat. Aim to reduce the amount of people between you and the white hat. Perhaps this “white hat” could be someone you are familiar with from other races, who you know has similar capabilities to yourself – aim to finish close to or even ahead of them.
- Make Post-Run Plans:
Think of what you will do later and use it as a healthy, happy distraction!
- Race Day:
Don’t forget to join the Our Team at the start line for some motivational moves pre-race to get you in the zone!
All you have to do is believe in yourself and as the Nike slogan says – Just Do It!
- Next time:
Fuel to win – Our Team want to ensure you’re not running on empty and that you are more than ready for race-day.