The mind is as important as the body when it comes to success in sports. This is especially true for long duration events, like an Ironman or marathon, when the mind has plenty of time to wander.
According to the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Tao, the words you use to express yourself are the seeds of your future experience. Negative thought patterns create mental and physical resistance which greatly hinders performance. Positive attitudes and thoughts likewise have amazing power.
"A race with fun is easy to run."
"Centered and strong, I run right along."
Positive self-talk can be conveyed to oneself in the language of affirmations. Rhyming affirmations, which keep in tune with your step, work great when you are running. Repeat them when the going gets tough, when your legs hurt and negative thoughts pop into your head. The best ones for you, are ones you have made up yourself and are personal. You never need to tell anyone else, so you can make them as outlandish as you like! Here's one I like, "I'm tough, I'm buff, I strut my stuff." I say this one over and over and I get a charge from it. It pumps me up and gives me a boost to finish a race strong. I know I am tough, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Find a collection of affirmations that work for you.
Some people have difficulty with affirmations. They feel they are deceiving themselves when they make statements about something that may be true in the future, but is not true now. "The Tao philosophy states, affirmations are not self-deception but self-direction."
If you need a reminder of how great you are, look back in your mind, log book or diary and make a note of every success you have made, as far back as you can remember. Read this list during moments of self-doubt and affirm these accomplishments as indicators of who you are as an athlete.
- Relax, relax, to achieve the max.
- I'm ready, I'm steady.
- I am in control and ready to roll.
- Let your legs flow like H2O.