Readers of this blog and web site know that I’m a big proponent of focusing on training the mind as well as the body. It really does not matter how well you train your body if you can’t handle the emotional pressure that comes on race day. The problem is that it is very hard to duplicate the feelings of race day in training. If you don’t work to toughen your mind things can fall apart very quickly in a race.
What’s frustrating is that sports psychology has gotten a bad rap (at least among some runners I know). Somehow, going a sports psychologist is seen as admitting that you are a “choker.” This idea is stupid and really holds some runners back.
In order to ensure that your mind is not preventing you from running fast, consider these tips:
1) Refrain from indulging in “negative self-talk,”
2) visualize yourself succeeding
3) when things begin to look bad in a race, take a few deep breaths…don’t freak out! and
4) Instead of setting time goals for yourself, set goals such as “to stay as relaxed as possible,” or “not engage in negative self-talk. By following a few simple tips, you will be able to run to the best of your ability.