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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Get Your Marathon Mind Right Through Visualization!!!

I occasionally scour the racks in Marshall's looking for a "Fab Find" during the off season on running apparel, ok let's be honest sometimes I shop for deals during the current season and in a pinch even a quick meal.  One evening wiped out the entire top shelf with the exception of display racks.

Tuscan Traditional Tomato Basil is the Truth the pasta isn't bad either.

In 2012 I scored big on a orange and black Adidas jacket because the price was right  I liked the color and it served a purpose-it was going to keep me warm during my workouts.

Winter Run 2012
A bonus point for me was it matched a pair of my kicks my collection.  Fast forward to today while I sit in Starbucks working on this post with the same jacket on it holds significance for me as a visualization tool to help get my mind right this marathon season.

Wait... What? -(In a Nikki Minaj voice). Visualization has long been used by athletes as a mental training tool to help them envision a desired outcome.  For more on visualization check out this NY Times article or this Sports Medicine post, if you're still thristy visit this blog on Sports and Attitude

While no amount of positive thinking will have me breaking world records this fall like Dennis Kimetto, it will help me relax, keep me focused and engaged during the days leading up to the race and during the race-follow along you may pick up a few gems along the way.

Kimetto racked up impressive victories after being discovered by Geoffrey Mutai
Visualization is the process of using your imagination to create a desired outcome that you desire in your life, don't get it twisted we still have to do hill repeats, 800's long runs etc-sorry to disappoint you but-you already knew that you're a runner. 😀😃😄

Close your eyes what do you see yourself accomplishing?
When I snagged this Boston Marathon jacket from Marshall's I was new to running, I had know idea that Boston was like the Super Bowl for runners not to mention you had to qualify in order to participate-plus pay to play.  Wow!!

Subconsciously a seed was planted in my mind once I tried the jacket on and I subsequently watered it along the way with sweat during training runs. 

Now open your eyes and go get it!!!
Now it has grown and taken on a life of its own occasionally talking to me not long drawn out conversation subtly digs, "You know you didn't run Boston"-to which I always respond NOT YET!  And that shuts him up as I check off another day on my training calendar. 

Invest in training so you can make withdrawals on race day!!!
There's no cramming for a marathon, you've gotta invest time training before you can make withdrawals on race day.  With 10 days till NU Hartford Marathon I wanted to get my mind right, fine tune a few things before race day-key words phases images reasons why I'm running etc..  I'll share a sample phrase with you "Dig Deep", I noticed this simple reminder on the tips of the laces of my Brooks Launch.

Paula Radcliffe shared a few of her get you mind right tips in the September's Runner's World UK issue-I'll paraphrase for you.

1. Write down a brief positive declaration that speaks to you-(eg. I've put in the hard work and now I'm ready to BQ).  Because our words have creative power you have to say it out loud 10-20 reps in the mirror.

2. Choose specific words that relate to your training or racing-(eg. Loose, smooth, easy, steady, head up, shoulders down and arms relaxed).  You will associate these words with good technique.

3. Finally, think exclusively about a previous positive experience and don't allow anything negative to enter your mind.



  1. Brilliant writing Derek, all runners need to invest in mental training as well as the physical. I personally have a few buzzwords I say to myself to motivate me and I always focus on remembering how great I felt on my best training run before an event.

  2. @Gareth Davies thanks soooo much man... what buzz words do you use keep you going?