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Exercise Your Senses to Improve Marathon Training

By on 07/31/2013 in Running

Exercise Your Senses to Improve Marathon Training

Exercise your senses

When training, be attentive and open-minded about your surroundings.

Many endurance athletes quickly realize that training for a marathon is physically challenging. And just as importantly, endurance running has a psychological component which can be just as daunting as the physical side. When I speak with groups about the psychology of training for a marathon, I cover such topics as the signs of overtraining, recognizing and handling “the stopping wish,” understanding what motivates you, and the psychology of training. There are four primary components to the psychological side of marathon training:

  • Motivation
  • Goal Setting
  • Imagery
  • Racing Day Mental Tricks

Last week, I explored motivational factors involved when training for a marathon. Today we’ll discuss using external imagery exercises to bolster your marathon training.

External imagery involves all five senses. On training runs, try to notice what the air smells like, feel the wind, taste the rain, hear your footsteps and observe the varied sights. Be attentive and open-minded about your surroundings. Pay attention to days when you feel you can run smooth and strong forever, and how your senses play a role in such a magnificent run.

Several days or weeks before your event, script the perfect day for your race. Imagine the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touches of the race for each mile as you would like it to go, culminating with a fantastic finish. You are scripting the day!

Now, on another day or over the course of several days, review parts of the script and make some changes. Think about, but do not dwell on, things that could go wrong and more importantly, how you will adjust to any changes in circumstances. This is not negative reinforcement. Quite the contrary, as you are preparing to deal with life as it throws you a curve ball. By anticipating in advance what might happen, and more importantly, what you will do to adjust to the changes prepares you for a better performance. After you have replayed the various scenarios, take another day to reinforce the positive script you originally wrote. Use this time for more positive self-talk, knowing you have contemplated alternatives and nothing will happen that you cannot handle.

Do you have a group that needs some positive talk? I am often asked to speak to business professionals, running enthusiasts and community organizations, so please contact me to discuss your upcoming events. Is your team interested in exploring external imagery, the psychology of running a marathon, or training for any task that seems like a marathon? Send your emails to Coach at CoachBrendan dot com.

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