Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.
So you’ve decided to start running, bought all the gear, try your first run and then feel like you have no idea! It hurt; you weren’t fast; you couldn’t breath… The reality is that most people never enjoy their very first run. It takes serious mental strength to lace those trainers up and get back out.
Creative visualizations will motivate you to stick to a training plan or achieve your overall running goals. Exercising the mind is just as vital as fitness for the body.
Visualization is a powerful tool whether you’re a beginner or an elite. We all have an imagination and this is as good a starting point as any. The mental side of running can at times be more crucial that the physical side. Realistically, we are not all destined to be world champion runners, however if you can close your eyes daily and imagination crossing that finish line, this can massively help in achieving the goal.
Don’t just dream about becoming a runner. It is a learned skill (through training the brain as much as the body) and it does require discipline and regular practice to gain maximum results.
Positive progress pictures help. Whether you have started running to lose weight, or to generally improve fitness, taking weekly progress pictures can help. They are a way of visually tracking your progress and helping to motivate you on the days when you really don’t want to do that run!
Small, realistic steps are best. When I first started running I didn’t track my distance as I knew I would always feel disappointed. I would just run from lamppost to lamppost and on the next run, I would aim for the bridge or maybe keep up with the runner-by!
Digit debate. When you decide you do want to start recoding your distance and time, start with an app. Map my run is useful as is Strava. I used these for a year before investing in a decent running watch. Personally, I found a greater sense of achievement when measuring runs in KM’s. There is something psychologically motivating about high numbers!
Chunk your thoughts and your runs. As your running progresses, your confidence will increase. The better the run, the more of a high you’ll get and it does become addictive. You might do a 10k race and then another. You might even surprise yourself and aim for a half marathon. The least daunting way to approach a half marathon is to think of 2 x10ks and a light jog!
Revisit all of your positive memories on a daily basis, especially the days when the physical pain feels too much!
Embrace every step and run for those who can’t!