Run Better with Your Brain

Jun 26, 2014 | by AIF

The right psychological mindset is something that professional runners cultivate and use for their competitions. However, amateurs can benefit from certain psychological techniques too.

Patrea O’Donoghue has been a registered psychologist for over 20 years and specialises in sports and exercise psychology. She shared four tactics for using your mind as a running tool:

  • Know why you’re running. A clear goal allows you to overcome obstacles when you encounter them, as you always will sooner or later. For example, if you know you want to run a half-marathon, it is easier to keep blocks in your training in perspective as you focus on that goal.
  • Once you know that long-term goal, define short-term goals to help you achieve it. For example, aim to run steadily for a certain distance or time. Or you could choose an aspect of your attention, form or attitude to focus on.
  • Use imagery. Envisage the runner you want to be and imagine running alongside that person with all your five senses. Parts of the brain does not distinguish between imagining an act and actually doing it, explained O’Donoghue.
  • Use positive language. If our minds are empty, chances are negative self-talk will flow in. Write down a list of positive words that boost your morale and fill your training and race routines with them.




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