Without a game plan for what you want to achieve, endless thoughts of doubt, feelings of not being good enough and that all too familiar friend called fear will interfere with what you want, causing you to give up on what you want before you even started.
So to ensure your run training is on the incline (not the decline), you’ve got to be smart with that mind of yours, otherwise, it’ll take over and tell you all the reasons why you can’t run longer or faster, and how and why you’re going to fail.
Your mind will play tricks with you, without question. You’ll hear voices that say, “you can’t beat your last time”, or “you’re too old and out of shape to run”, or “what if my running style looks bad and people will laugh at me?”
So, you need a game plan, an approach that will encourage you to set a new target for yourself and to stay committed to what you want to achieve.
1. Know your end result
Negative thoughts are based upon limiting beliefs and made up stories in your head, that attempt to derail you from what you want to achieve – and they’ll do it over (and over) again. Which is why it is imperative to have an intention, to know what you’re going for and why you want it.
For example, let’s say you want to smash your last run time (intention) and your ‘why’ is to feel proud of yourself which unlocks the feeling of self-belief (end result). You may think you’re just going for a run, but really what you’re running for is to believe in yourself. This mental shift to a deeper understanding of why you’re bothering to go out and smash your last run time creates a compelling reason to stay committed to your intention.
2. Be in your end result
When you consistently imagine yourself in the end result, you train your mind and heart to integrate and create the reality you truly want.
Following on from the above example… Now you know what you’re actually going for (believing in yourself), it’s time to imagine yourself in the outcome of self-belief. Imagine you have finished your run and you have smashed your previous time, and damn you’re feeling proud of yourself. Imagine yourself slowing down your breath after that big run with that feeling you’ve been seeking to experience – belief in yourself. Stay in that outcome for 3 minutes and let your mind be there. Let your mind and heart experience all the good feels that come with believing in you, and simply be in your end result. Repeating this daily trains your mind into believing the end result has already happened.
3. Expect mental setbacks
Negative and limiting thoughts are aspects of life we all have to deal with, and often they create negative states such as anxiety, stress and overwhelm. However, they especially ramp up when you choose to set a new target for yourself. Thoughts of doubt can lead you to give up on smashing your previous run time, or thoughts like, “there’s no way I can do this,” can lead you to make excuses as to why you can’t be bothered beating your last time. It’s important to notice these thoughts but not fall victim to them. When they pop up (and they will), notice how they’re negatively affecting you, make the choice that you no longer want to feel that way and shift your focus back to your end result and the imagination process.
4. Mental Mantra
Creating a personal and meaningful mantra (a top-notch statement that makes you feel incredible) will help when those mental setbacks start to kick in. To stay pumped up and to get yourself back on track, your personal mantra will help overcome feelings of overwhelm, doubt and anxiety. Simply make a powerful statement that instantly makes you feel powerful, excited, centred and grounded. One that I use whenever my head starts to play games is, “slow and steady wins the race baby!” It instantly calms me down and I begin to refocus on my end result.
Never forget, going full pelt without downtime, play, rest and meditation can lead to burnout. Burnout is mental, physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion and is very difficult to overcome once reached. So tune into yourself and ask, “what is a balanced approach for me that I will stick and commit to easily?” The answers will be simple and all you need to do is follow them.
Kat John is an official Mindfulness Coach for Run Melbourne presented by lululemon.
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