Friday, December 11, 2009

'Mental Training for Peak Performance’ book review

I learned a lot from the book ‘Mental Training for Peak Performance’ by Steven Ungerleider. This book describes how mental practices can improve athletic performance. Ungerleider leads readers through the basics of mental training and then offers specific advice for cyclists, skiers, golfers, marathoners, mountain bikers, runners, swimmers, tennis, volleyball players, weight lifters and pentathletes.

As a result of reading this book, I am starting to practice imagery and visualization.

In chapter 22, Undgerleider provides a checklist of the basic principles of a customized mental training program for all athletes. I found it useful to write my answers out and define which aspects of mental training I will work on in 2010.

Set Goals

My goals for 2010 are to run the 5K in under 22 minutes and run the 15K in under 80 minutes. I would also like to improve my half marathon time, and I will set that time goal based upon my improved performance in the 15K.

Use a Verbal Cue

My verbal cue is the phrase “Looking Good.”

Focus on the Positive

I am a little scared at how simple it is to improve my performance by changing my attitude. I am a firm believer in the theory that positive thinking will improve my training and race performance.

Build in Relaxation Time

I have two no-running-allowed rest days per week. Allowing my muscles to heal and adapt to training is just as important as the training itself.

Find the Right Tension Level

I disengage from the hard parts of running by consciously relaxing my arms and changing my focus from catching an opponent to pacing an opponent. I also focus on running with my pelvis when I am starting to feel exhausted.

Take a Look at Your Opponents

At this point in my racing, my PR is my only real opponent. I like to look around at my fellow racers and absorb their energy and excitement and focus it into my enthusiasm for the upcoming race.

Visualize Proper Techniques

I visualize feeling relaxed and running in a Chi running position. When I visualize running a race, I feel the starting pace, then imagine using my fellow runners as goalposts to run towards, pace and overtake. I imagine feeling strong at the two and a half mile mark and starting to speed up my running to my final kick.

Imagine Coping with Extremes

I believe that my effort on the last mile of every practice, when I am fatigued, is the part of my training that improves my running. The more racing experience I have under my belt, the more confidence I will have to run in different types of weather. I will focus on improving this part of visualization in 2010.

See Yourself Winning

My visualizations of running at a new, faster pace and beating my PR are giving me the confidence to actually believe that I can run faster that my previous personal best.

Maintain Cool Under Pressure

I am working on incorporating different paces in my running practice so I can visualize a scenario where I run a slow first mile and have the confidence to increase my pace in the second and third miles to put myself back on track.

Make Your Emotions Work for You

I need to work on being able to channel anger, excitement and fear into energy for my running.

Develop Your Own Rituals

My rituals so far only involve eating at the proper time before a race and wearing appropriate clothes. I need to develop rituals that channel my energy and focus me for the race.

Use Affirmations and Self-Talk

I use the same words my high school cross country coach said, “You’re Looking Good.” This reminds me that I am doing fine, that my exhaustion and impatience with racing is only mental, and that I should concentrate on my form so I will continue to be “Looking Good.”

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  1. write down yor goals in a 2010 goals booklet. It is always in my wallet and I review it regularly. It keeps me focused on what really matters to me.

    Enjoy and success!

  2. Yoga (Sanskrit, Pali: yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox (astika) schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

    Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.[10] Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

    The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," meaning "to control," "to yoke" or "to unite."[12] Translations include "joining," "uniting," "union," "conjunction," and "means." Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a yogi or yogini