Practice Visualization!

28 Oct

Practice mental toughness and visualization.

Visualization and mental toughness are skills I preach to the athletes I coach and train with. I feel that one has to believe and see them doing the task in order to truly go out and make it happen and live up to that person’s expectations. I have been a dreamer my whole life; I get visions in my head, ideas, thoughts and then I think and think of how to make it into reality.
I use acupuncture as a place I go to help me perfect race day visualization. I will lay down on the table with the needles in me close my eyes and envision the race course see myself performing and how I will attack the race. Of course you don’t have to be having acupuncture to do this but it sure helps me. I also do this at night when I lay in bed I fall asleep zoning out thinking about the course where are the hills, and when should I attack? Visualization is a very powerful technique and one that should be practiced and put into your training plan for sure.

The recent USA Triathlon magazine has an article about “Mental Skills” one that inspired me to blog about this today. Here is a great quote from that article.
“Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action” Orison Swett Marden

Wow that quote is powerful and really hit me this morning. You have to dream, you have to see yourself doing something in order to make it real. If you can’t see yourself running a 3 hour marathon how will you ever run one? Thus you must believe and visualize and then it will become real. Visualization will also help you calm your pre-race nerves; you can use this meditated technique to calm yourself and prepare yourself for the event.

All of this visualization then plays into mental toughness during the event. As the event goes on and the body tires our mind plays tricks on us and makes us feel weak and tired; it tries to tell us to stop or slow down. These are those dark tough moments within an event or life that we dig down and we use visualization again to see friends or family members cheering along the course. We think of the finish line and how amazing we will feel to have accomplished our goal. We can go back into the mind and relive those dreams we had in the days leading up to the event and how we saw ourselves floating down the road; how we ran the race we wanted to run. This can be tough to do so practice it during training runs, rides, and swims, whatever. Learn how to meditate, visualize and dig deep to power through tough times.

Use this off season to open your mind and seeing things more clear. Think about next season and what races your doing, what goals you have and then see yourself accomplishing those goals.

Another great quote from that article was;
(Daydreaming and mental imagery go hand in hand. Breathe deeply the autumn air, close your eyes and dream big dreams. See yourself as strong, powerful and fast, for as Flip Wilson once said, “What you see is what you get”)

Free your mind, open your heart and soul and dream big! Believe! You can be amazing!



One Response to “Practice Visualization!”

  1. hotsweatymamas October 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Great stuff Mike! Just what I need before my race next Sunday. Gives me a week to practice my PR in my head. I realized once I started reading this that the linchpin for my 5K PR so long ago was definitely visualization. I saw my split at each mile and darn it if that’s not exactly how it happened. Thanks for the timely reminder! –Kara

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