Monday, April 8, 2013

What you see is What you get

Today's Workout:
6 mile run

Have you ever felt the sense that you have seen something before? It's like that feeling of déjà vu where you swear you have seen something, but you know you haven't? Our minds are very powerful and if you train them properly, you could do anything you want. You're probably thinking that I am cray cray, but this actually called mental imagery and chances are you have probably done it without knowing.

When you use mental imagery in a sport such as running, you are imagining yourself going through the motions as you run through the race. It's like a mental game that you create which helps you stay relaxed and focused while you run.

This is a technique that I have used in running even before I knew that it had a name. I first learned about mental imagery when I became a police officer because we were trained to imagine ourselves on dangerous calls so that our response was more efficient and effective. I was also taught that with mental imagery, the act of doing something would become more natural if I rehearsed it in my mind. For instance, if you mentally rehearse taking out your handcuffs and quickly detaining someone, the act of handcuffing someone and detaining them becomes easier because you have done it so many times in your mind. This is essentially the same technique that I use for a race.

As part of my Boston Marathon preparations, I have started visualizing the race and all of its components. Have you ever heard of the concept "getting in the zone?" It's a mental state which helps you reach the peak of your performance because it becomes effortless. This is a mental practice much like physically training everyday.

This is an idea of what I run through my mind (no pun intended!): I am imagining the course, my competitors, the fueling stations, and the finish line. I imagine myself running smooth and relaxed. I imagine no pain in my body. I imagine being in control as I breathe in and out. I imagine finishing the race at a certain time. I imagine crossing that finish line and feeling so proud of my accomplishment. The concept of mental imagery is easy and it could be used for anything, not just sports. Give it a try!

So, if you see yourself doing something, chances are you will get what you want!
Happy Runnings! 
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