Tonight my husband and I did a “Confidence Booster” run (I only named it that after we were done and was able to assess how my body and mind felt about going out on a wet, misty, cool, and dark night). I was not sure how I would feel because for the last couple of months my health has not been up to par BUT I thought to myself, “If I’m going to go out in these conditions I have to use it (the run) for me …” Meaning, I am going to use this run and go at it physically and mentally as a trial run for Sunday. As we started going I felt my feet hit the ground solid, strong, and just right. I had my music thumping. In case you didn’t not know, I listen to House Music, mainly drum and bass, some with lyrics and some without. House music has an intense tempo that helps me with pacing and keeps my mantras consistent. As the music flows and I find my pace usually a combination of words will come to be that describe how I feel and want to continue to feel. Tonight it was a combination of “strong, steady, right, fast.” At the same time I start to visualize how strong I look and also retrieve mental pictures of other athletes that motivate me such as, Kara Goucher, Chrissie Wellington, and Miranda Carefrae,. Below I have add a video that at 38 sec and 56 sec show some great images of Miranda Carefrae’s amazing running mechanics.
So throughout our run my focus was to focus on these things versus the rain, the cold, or even my husband who was plenty a head of me. I kept asking myself, “Can I give more consistently? or hold this, hold this, good place, right here.” Meaning can I push up the effort without compromising efficiency or mechanics? or am I giving what I got and at a my pace? It was only until we had a about a half mile where I rev up my pace to ALWAYS bring it in for a strong finish, be it a training run or race. We did 7 miles in 51 minutes….SOLID!
While there is not much in the area of physical performance that we/I can improve in the week, days, or hours leading up to a race there IS an area the we can improve up to seconds before we race…even during…that is our mental skills or mental performance…Here is one area that many Olympic and triathletes utilize on a regular basis…
Visualization is the skill of using your imagination to achieve your goals and solve problems. As you imagine the behavior, thoughts, and feelings that you would like to experience within your successful performance, you are creating a mental imprint that you can reenact when it is time to perform. You can increase your likelihood for successful performance the more you practice and develop your visualization skills.
The world’s best athletes have highly developed imagery skills and use these skills on a daily basis. Visualization (often termed imagery) is a mental training technique that involves using all your senses including thoughts, feelings, emotions, and other sensations such as sight, sound, feel, adrenaline to create or recreate an experience in your own mind. An important part of visualization is “feeling” yourself performing the way you want (confident, focused, good rhythm and tempo, etc.).
Many athletes use imagery as a mental training skill to build confidence and a feeling of readiness prior to competition (e.g. motivational aspects of imagery). It can also be used as a cognitive technique to plan competition strategies, rehearse game plans, affirm what you want to occur, or as a coping skill strategy to stay calm and composed under pressure. Everyone possesses the ability to use imagery, like anything else, it is a skill that must be developed and practiced.
Visualization before game competitions – reflect on the mindset you want to carry with you into competition (confident, focused, poised, aggressive), have a goal for each competition – imagine yourself being on a mission, use energizing cues to get the adrenaline and emotions flowing, think like a champion – nothing is going to stop you today. See/feel yourself performing great, with confidence, in sync, everything flowing automatically
“On hard days, I picture myself crossing the finishing line and being elated. You have no idea how many times I have already ’won’ the gold, in my own mind” Kara Goucher.
So wish us luck as we encounter another wonderful racing adventure and Keep on reaching for your peak!