The Power of the Mind
Last week I wrote a blog about the importance of visualization. I can’t remember what gave me the idea, but it’s a powerful tool that we can all benefit from. Since then, I have come across several more articles explaining the powerful role of the mind in athletic performance. My favorite is one by Chrissie Wellington, the coolest and happiest four time World Ironman Champion I’ve ever seen. (Who knew it was possible to smile so much after completing a 140.6 mile event?)
“I believe that it is my mind that has carried me through to some of my greatest victories — a mind that I have had to work hard to train and hone…. Training the brain will be as important as training the body. And although some characteristics are innate (self-motivation, drive, determination, stubbornness), I also think that there are strategies and tools that you can learn, develop and deploy.”
Some of her mind over matter techniques are:
1) Have a mantra and/or a special song to repeat (Wellington’s is “Never, ever give up – and smile.”)
2) Keep a bank of positive images
3) Practice visualization beforehand
4) Break up the race into smaller, more manageable segments
5) Remember that training is about learning to hurt
6) Get people to support you
7) Mentally recall inspirational people
I love all of these but perhaps the one that sticks with me the most is training is about learning to hurt. This article about peaking before an athletic event, explores the idea that it isn’t the fact that an athlete’s fitness improves significantly over a season, but instead it’s that the athlete learns how to better handle pain. It reminds me of a quote I saw once – “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Our bodies can only carry us so far. It is our mind that will carry us a little farther.
Just look how freakin’ cute and happy this lady is…
Here’s to a great weekend!
Happy Trails and Happy Running,