We can obviously train the body to run better, but huge rewards await runners who take a bit of time and effort to train the mind to run better too.
Very often the difference between a good performance and a bad performance is in the mind not the body. Seven times winner of the Beachy Head Marathon (the biggest off-road marathon in the UK), Stuart Mills, attributes his success to positivity. He’s run the race 9 times, finishing 2nd twice. “Noakes and others have demonstrated that there is a decrease in muscle activation initiated by the brain when fatigued“, says Stuart on his blog about trail and ultra running. This might sound obvious, but it emphasises that it is the brain that’s controlling the physiology and not the reverse. For anyone interested in Stuart’s ideas on endurance running performance his blog is pretty fascinating.
Some runners ignore the mind training altogether, whilst for some others the mind training starts and finishes with some positive visualisations. That is a start, but some deeper benefits come from working more obviously with the unconscious mind.
I while back, I listened to a hypnosis audio specifically designed to develop running endurance. It was during my study with Uncommon Knowledge, the excellent hypnotherapy trainers. As a student I had access to a selection of their hypnosis audios.
The first time I listened to it was when I was going through one of those periods most runners get from time to time when it seems difficult to get out of the door to train.
The result? Well, after the 20 minute hypnotherapy session, I decided to go for run. I had been feeling rather lethargic before, but now felt inclined to venture out. Of course, this might just have been me wanting to believe that what I’d just listened to was working, but who cares? The fact remains, I just got changed and went out for a run without much conscious thought at all. But it didn’t stop there. I can vividly recall how this seemingly routine 7-mile run developed into an almost race-like effort. Yes, discomfort came, but it was almost relished, and there was an urge to explore the sensation during the run rather than back away from it.
This was not a new feeling for me, I am sure others have experienced it too after getting some good news or being released from some frustrating episode. It’s as if the body (or more likely the mind) has changed it’s perception of effort or pain. Of course, we can’t all turn on the good news tap at will, but we can take the time and trouble to work with our minds a little more. I still use that same audio now, together with much of the other first class training I received from Uncommon Knowledge.
Although the fact is explained within the audio itself, it’s worth reiterating here that to gain the most benefit the hypnosis session should be listened to frequently; many of our unconscious behaviours have been deeply ingrained and so are modified best through repetition.
I highly recommend the keep running audio download.
Watch this space for more reviews of hypnosis audios related to running and fitness.