Get Visual: Mental Tips For Training, Racing

Before race day, use visualization and other mental training techniques. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

In Training

You can practice visualization techniques in your training to prepare for every possible scenario and to improve your execution on race day. All it takes is 10-15 minutes a day to increase your chances of success.

Be Specific And Detailed
When visualizing your race, be as specific and detailed as possible. Imagine yourself at the starting line, surrounded by thousands of other high strung runners — is it hot, is it cold, what are you wearing? When the gun sounds, envision the acceleration in your heart rate and the claustrophobic feeling as the stampede begins. By conjuring up these emotions, sights, and sounds, you can prepare yourself to remain calm, collected, and execute your race plan in a chaotic environment. The more specific you can be with the sites, sounds, and emotions, the more calm and confident you’ll be on race day.

Visualize The Good And The Bad
Likewise, visualize positive and negative scenarios. Let’s face it, no matter how fit you are, a race is going to hurt at some point. Imagine yourself working through those bad moments during the race. This way, when they inevitably occur, you’ll know exactly what to do and be confident you can work through them.

Likewise, visualize what you’ll do and how you will feel should something go wrong. What if your shoe becomes untied or you have to go the bathroom? By visualizing these scenarios, you’ll have a specific plan in place and instead of panicking, you’ll be calm, cool, and collected.

Boost Your Confidence
Another advantage of visualization in training is the opportunity to boost your confidence. It’s been well documented that high confidence correlates to an increased level of performance. By visualizing yourself succeeding, you can subconsciously improve your belief in yourself and your abilities.

To enhance your self-confidence, try implementing self-affirmation and self-talk into your daily routine. Spend 5 minutes each night before bed standing in front of the mirror repeating specific, positive messages to yourself. The mirror helps engage the visual receptors in the brain and helps internalize the positive messages. Phrases such as “I am fit, I am fast, I am going to win” tend to work well. Create your own self-affirmation phrase and spend 5 minutes repeating it to yourself. Before you know it, there won’t be a doubt in your mind you’re going to perform on race day.

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