Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kinser Half - final tips

By Jannine Myers

Following on from Anna's motivational words, I wanted to pass on just a few more tips that we were given in our coaching clinic last weekend. One of the questions we were asked by our instructor was, "How many of you think that the marathon challenge includes both physical, and mental strength?" Every hand in the classroom went up in answer to this question, and yet our instructor pointed out a valid observation: we all pay great attention to our physical training when preparing to run a marathon, but very few of us give any thought to psychological training. So here's a few tips that I hope might benefit you ladies if you're willing to try and apply them on race day:

Self-Control is key to a strong performance.  Learning to control your thoughts and emotions is difficult, especially if you're like me and tend to allow negative energy to start surfacing during the days leading up to race day.

In our coaching class, we were taught that there are several aspects of being able to perform well under a variety of stress-producing circumstances:
  • being able to accept criticism
  • not being afraid to fail
  • maintaining composure under stress
  • being able to perform to potential during competition
In order to do these things you need to be able to:
  • control and channel your emotions
  • focus your concentration
  • bounce back from setbacks
  • deal with negative thoughts (I'm working on this)
Ideally, you want to be able to run with the attitude of an optimist! An optimist will encounter any problems on race day with the view that they can rise above them, rather than be overcome by them. In other words, learn how to turn the obstacles into challenges, or in the words of  our instructors, "You can be a winner, or you can be a whiner!"

Do these look like the faces of winners, or the faces of whiners? Definitely winners!
Furthermore, the greatest potential for a best performance takes place in an atmosphere of positive energy. Top performances by successful athletes are often thought to have occurred because the athletes have perfomed in the zone. The zone is described as a state of mind where an athlete is able to feel completely relaxed and highly motivated. Check out the following characteristics of being in the zone:
  • Relaxed - your mind is calm and your body is ready to go.
  • Confident - you don't let a lapse in performance undermine your belief in your overall abilities; there is no fear because you have done the training and know that you're capable.
  • Completely focused - you are oblivious to everything else going on around you, consumed by the moment.
  • Effortless - your mind and body work together perfectly, making even the most grueling and demanding task seem achieveable.
  • Automatic - there is no interference from your thoughts or emotions; if you think less you will achieve more.
  • FUN - you feel a great sense of enjoyment!
  • In control - you feel that you are in control of your emotions; your emotions do not control you!
I hope these final tips help to calm your nerves a little and perhaps even lead to a great performance. But just remember, no matter who crosses the line ahead of you or behind you, you are ALL winners!
Now go get yourselves in the zone and let that positive energy flow!

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