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Hypnosis for running training

Go straight to professionally produced, hypnosis downloads for sports performance.

Why does our running vary so much?

Have you ever had a bad run, then a day or two later had a good run?

Maybe, some days, it feels like you cannot even run at all.

You know that you have the fitness to run, and perhaps the fitness to run really well. But somehow, sometimes, you just don't run like you feel you can.

Or, perhaps, you are lucky enough to experience one of those runs when you seem to be able to perform way above even your own expectations. Yes, the running is hard, but you want more of it, you want to push even more.

Of course, our physical fitness cannot fluctuate so wildly over such short periods (excluding injury or illness), but something is affecting our ability to perform.

Don't just train the body

Most of us spend a great deal of time and effort training our bodies so that we can perform to our maximum potential. That might be to run faster, further, often both. Or it might be to develop general fitness or just to lose some weight.

Most of us also know that what usually separates a good run from a bad run is very often related to mental ability or state of mind at the given time.

Creating a positive mental state can turn a lacklustre run into a truly outstanding and memorable performance. It can turn a long hard slog into a run where you feel that you are floating along. A positive mental state can shave minutes off a 10k race, and many more minutes off a half marathon. As for the marathon, when the head drops it usually spells disaster. Conversely, feeling positive during a marathon can produce extraordinary results.

And what about training? Sometimes just stepping out of the door for our scheduled session seems impossibly hard, whilst other times we can't wait to leap into action with seemingly boundless energy.

The difference? Attitude — or mental state. But, we don't have to leave it to chance, we do have an amazing amount of control over the way we feel about our running, training and racing. As a consequence, we have an amazing amount of control over the results and satisfaction we attain.

Training the mind

Hypnotherapy is used for many purposes, very often remedially; fixing something that's broken: breaking an addiction to smoking, alcohol or sweet food. But we can also use hypnosis much more positively, to bypass many of the unconscious decisions and mental processes that can truly transform our running and training.

In his research on the effects hypnosis can have on cardiovascular responses, JW Williamson stated: "Our subjects were able, through hypnotic manipulation of effort sense, to selectively alter their sensation of effort as referenced from the working limbs". Further more "When subjects were given the suggestion of uphill cycling (when cycling on the flat), there were elevations in both heart rate and blood pressure". So, hypnosis can alter our levels of perceived effort and hypnosis can also effect the workings of the heart.

Anyone who has run a marathon will know that when the level of perceived effort increases (i.e. it feels tougher), we find it harder to keep going at our current rate. Of course, the result is that we slow down; it sounds like common sense, but this understanding of RPE (rate of perceived effort) is crucial to how we run at or near our limits.

But what are our limits?

How do we know what they are? Most of us know from the way it feels. If we feel like we are dying, we tend to back off. Some exceptionally talented athletes are known to be able to perform beyond their predicted scientific physical limitations.

The British runner, Paula Radcliffe is one. Here is what the sports scientist said about her during testing: “When we are testing on the treadmill we ask people to tell us when they feel they have about a minute left to run,” he says. “Paula would be clearly as exhausted as most athletes ever get but would signal she wanted to keep going. And this would keep going and going. She would rather have gone off the back of the treadmill than be stopped. She would push herself beyond what seemed possible.”

British cyclist, Mark Cavendish, is another extraordinary athlete. He explains in his autobiography how his cycling team was tested in the lab and that one rider stood out from the others due to his very poor figures. Indeed, he was told he'd never make it as a pro cyclist because he's simply out of his depth. He went on to become one of the most successful cyclists the Tour de France has ever seen.

The head of performance science at Team Sky, Tim Kerrison, said of Mark that he'd rarely seen an athlete who could squeeze so much out of his innate capabilities; Mark calls it his ability to suffer. If we too can develop our ability to suffer, to continue pushing harder than we thought possible, then we can also get closer to our true potential.

I most situations in life, pain is something to avoid, something to move away from. In sport however, pain can be a signal that we are actually getting close to that ground-breaking performance.

Hypnosis can help us reframe many situations, turning them from negative to positive. It can also help us to develop our motivation to train. It can do all of this without us even being aware of it. All we see is the improvement.

If we only train the body, we are training a fraction of the person.

I studied hypnotherapy with one of the most up-to-date and well-researched training providers in the UK: Uncommon Knowledge. This company has produced many, many highly professional audio downloads to help anyone who is curious or knows how effective hypnosis can be. Some of these downloads are very applicable to fitness and training and even running. In the absence of one-to-one hypnosis sessions, which can be prohibitively costly, audio downloads (using MP3) are a great substitute — with the added benefit that you get to hear them and benefit from them again and again.

We highly recommend the hypnosis downloads from Uncommon Knowledge, take a look at their fitness and running related selection in their sports performance section here.

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