“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – Napoleon Hill
Your mind is a powerful tool to enhance your race performance. Creative visualization involves using your imagination to create the scenario in your mind’s eye. Training the mind is just as important as training your body.
Olympians use visualization techniques to run their best. “The more an athlete can imagine the entire package, the better it’s going to be,” said Nicole Detling, a sports psychologist with the United States Olympic team.
Top athletes vividly imagine with great sensory detail seeing themselves run their best race. As they visualize, they focus on how the body feels running the race. They create a memory of a perfect performance and in doing so they prepare the body what they will need to do on race day.
Emily Cook, a U.S. freestyle aerials Olympian, uses “visualization” in her training. “You have to smell it,” she said. “You have to hear it. You have to feel it, everything.”
In my own recent experience while training for the Runners Edge Treadmill Challenge*, I vividly visualized hearing the cheering crowds, felt the intense energy of the event and imagined myself running strong, overcoming pain and trying my best. During my warm up, I reviewed the visualization in detail and really felt what I was about to experience. Just as the race was about to start, I felt more prepared and less anxious and ready to run my best race possible.
In a future RE article, I will describe in more detail exactly what and when to visualize to optimize your race performance.
Visualization is a powerful tool to achieve your goals and have the best race day experience ever. If you want to optimize your ability, incorporate visualization into your training and racing and you will become what you believe.
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*Side Note: Nicole Hunt was the winner for the 3rd consecutive year at the Runners Edge Treadmill Challenge. Congrats Nicole!