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.
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.”
Most Read Posts:
My top way to stick to your training schedule - Tips for using a running log - Click Here
List of best at-work snacks for Runners - Click Here
What is the best percentage of protein, carbohydrate and fat in a long distance runners diet? Click Here
Are you training to run a half marathon? Click here to get free nutrition and training tips by email.