Saturday, August 23, 2008

On The Run - Sound mind, sound body

Sound Mind, Sound Body

Stan Chaisson

What is it that drives people to get out of their cozy bed in the morning, face the elements, and put one foot in front of the other for countless miles? How do they find the motivation? How do they battle the fatigue and keep focused on their event? Many times
it’s a challenge to make walking and running a priority and it takes more than just strong legs and lungs.

Mental preparation is equally as important as physical training when it comes to running. It’s one thing to be motivated when you start your training, but it’s another thing to stay motivated for the many weeks leading up to the event. Here are a few techniques you can use to help prepare your mind for your event.

Visualize. Take a few minutes each week to imagine what your race is going to be like. Picture yourself running smoothly, confidently and focused. See yourself overcoming any
obstacles you can
think of and comfortably completing your distance with a smile on your face and all your friends and family cheering. Imagine the rewarding feeling you’ll have as you cross the finish line.

Find your mantra. Develop a word, phrase, or even sing a song that is positive and motivating. Throughout your training and in your event repeat this motivating mantra to help you stick with your plan and take your mind away from distractions.. In a recent discussion with Shawn McCardle, an Ultra-marathoner who has completed a 100-mile race, he explained to me that staying focused is extremely important, and if you
continually remind yourself you are going to succeed, you will succeed. You need to train your mind just as much as you train your body and you need to be aware of this connection.

There’s no doubt that negative thoughts can creep into your head and many excuses are easy to find on a rainy day or
a busy weekend. Life can definitely alter your training for a day or two or even a week, but you must keep your vision and get back to your training and remind yourself about all the hard work you’ve put in, and how much this means to you. Surround yourself with a positive support system. Spend time with like-minded, motivated runners, friends and family. Display motivating quotes on your fridge and mirrors, and watch your favorite inspirational movies.

Develop a po
sitive training ritual. Start each run with a routine that is consistent throughout your training regimen. This can be anything you want; a warm up and stretch, listening to music, or a calming walk. During a nerve-racking situation, having this comfortable and positive routine can calm you down and make everything feel the same as any other training run. This will help you relax and improve your performance.
Is there a reward for all this hard work that makes it all worthwhile? Of course there is. There is no better feeling than working hard to reach a goal and completing such a great accomplishment no matter if it’s walking your first 10km or running your first Marathon.

So as you prepa
re for the BMO Nesbitt Burns PEI Marathon events in October, remember to stay focused, stay consistent and most importantly enjoy the journey, you’ll never forget it.

Stan Chaisson is a registered kinesiologist, trainer, avid runner, and exercise enthusiast. His weekly column will provide advice and training tips for those preparing for the BMO Prince Edward Island Marathon, October 18-19 (

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