Run with your mind
A popular credo states that a run is decided in the mind. This common knowledge has long been proven by sports psychology. 5 tips to make your mind a winner at the next competition.
- Pay attention to the details
Giving something your undivided attention has become a rarity in our everyday life: while talking on the phone, we quickly check our e-mails, or clean up the desk. In principle, however, our minds can only concentrate fully and completely on one sensory stimulus. You can make specific use of this in a competition: deliberately immerse yourself in the surroundings and focus your attention on every detail along the way so that the tiredness that arises will not have a chance to penetrate your consciousness. Listen attentively to the sounds around you or observe the colours. Or fully concentrate on your internal stimuli and play with your senses: try to feel your heartbeat or count your breaths.
- It is what it is
Many factors that determine the outcome of a competition depend directly on you as an athlete. You can complete enough training kilometres, test your diet and break in your shoes. But you cannot change the weather, for example, even if you are really annoyed about possible rain or a loss of energy due to the cold. Such brooding merely costs unnecessary energy and dampens your motivation. This is why the following applies: accept the things you cannot control and only use your energy for the things that will positively impact the race!
- Imagination is called for
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine cutting a lemon and biting into it vigorously. An unpleasant feeling will spread through your mouth or possibly your entire body. Certain ideas and memories can generate positive feelings this very same way, especially in crisis situations. In such moments, call to mind a situation in which you felt particularly strong and assertive. Imagining that important people and friends are standing by the track and cheering you on can likewise be inspiring. Create uplifting scenarios in your mind as accurately as possible and include as many details as you can, even the colours and smells.
- Postpone decisions
Your legs are heavy, the temperature is dropping, the distance has stretched in length to the point that you are now competing alone. And isn’t that a muscle starting to twinge? The inner doubter asks increasingly louder: I haven’t even made it halfway - why am I doing this to myself? Probably every runner knows scenarios such as these. It is therefore important to postpone the decision! Reassess the situation again at the next refreshment point or kilometre signpost. In this way, you won’t make a hasty decision that you will end up regretting again a few minutes later. And besides that, divide up the remaining distance into manageable sections. You therefore only need to think about getting from refreshment point to refreshment point.
- Train your mind beforehand
Hardly anyone would think of taking part in a marathon without doing any running training. You should thus also develop your mental skills in advance. There are numerous books and CDs on mental training in sports. Try out different techniques during your running training or on a rest day. What appeals to you? But don’t overdo it with the mental strength. As with any sport, this also applies to running: your health comes first! Mental strength also includes recognising your own limits and respecting them.
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