Monday, April 30, 2012

Visualization - Taper week Saviour

Next week is the Vancouver BMO - I was SUPPOSED to be doing the full.... (not bitter at all).  However I am now on the grey boot spectator team - and it looks like we have added another member - our popularity is increasing.  My friend Diane is now sporting one along with June-bug and I.  This is not a group I would encourage others to aspire to join...

So with everyone in full taper mode and finding themselves with spare time on their hands, getting antsy and over thinking all aspects of their race I would advise you to take that excess energy and use to work on visualizing your race day - Start to successful finish.  It is a great way to focus that excess energy.

One of the talks that I get tagged to do for the clinics is the visualization talk.  I started giving the talk 3 years ago when I was leading clinics.  After working with Coach Larry and benefiting immensely from doing visualization with him I decided that I would do it with my clinics.  Now that I not leading anymore I get asked to come in and do the talk for the groups near the end of their clinics just before race day.  I like doing them but I am starting to think a better time to do the talk to create the most benefit may be at the start of the clinic.  I honestly believe this is a skill that the runners should be using from the moment they register for the race/clinic.  Something to think about and maybe mention to the clinic leaders.

So Visualization talk - people think yah, yah she will talk about the value of it and why.  Well yeah I touch on it, I also touch on such things as power words and mantra's and learning be comfortable being uncomfortable among other things.   Power words are important they are words that can motivate you and energize you on the course - mine is Shazam.  Mantras I have are - Pain is temporary, Pride is forever.  Today is your day and I like to hum I Feel Good by James Brown - sometimes I have been known to start singing it out loud. If nothing else it motivates other runners around me to move faster to get away from me when I am singing. 

For the actual talk -  I actually have them mentally run the race right there and then.  I ask them to close their eyes and see themselves race morning standing in their gear at the start line.  Sometimes I will start to play the national anthem - just like it would be on race morning.  I tell them to think of their power word and take a deep breath in and feel the energy start to move in their body.  I have them pass over the start line and here I press my watch so they hear a beep, beep just like they would as they pass over the mats.  I then guide them through the course - km by km - A little faster since it is in our minds.  I talk about weather, spectators, porta potties, how they may be feeling, aid stations, pace, walk breaks and things on the course.  At tough points I have them take deep breaths in and pull energy into their body continuing to move up their limbs - at these times I tell them to say their power word or mantra again.  I talk about 32km and feeling bad and tired and not wanting to do this - about saying their Mantra and power words and using the energy of the crowd and fellow runners to get through it. - I talk about eating gels and the love hate relationship with their pace bunny.

Finally I talk about how they come through the darkness and how near the finish line they will see fences, the crowds, they will hear Stephen King and how for the final push they will pull the last of the energy in - feeling their whole body tingle right to the ends of the hair on their heads -  I usually have picked one person in the group who has told me their goal time and announce their dream time and name with a final beep, beep of my watch as they cross over the finish line timing mats.

After we do this I talk to them about doing this every day going forward to race day.  Just finding a quiet place for 15 minutes and running their race.  I like to think that people find some benefit from this exercise - I guess they do because I keep getting asked to come back and do the talk.

So my advice to you with 5 sleeps left - work on visualizing your success.  See it, Believe it, Live it.

Peace out from the sideline

Shaun

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