Sharpen the Mind in Practice
In addition to scheduled recovery days, your actual training days should have focus. Creating a plan for each workout helps to set the intention and avoid the pitfall of going to hard.
Ask yourself these four questions before each workout:
What do you plan to do?
- What specific techniques or emphasis are you going to concentrate on?
How are you planning to do this?
What self-talk message are you going to use?
The first question relates to goal setting and the structure of the workout. What is the purpose of the workout? What pace/time/distance are you trying to achieve?
The second question focuses on specific physical tasks such as technique and drill practice.
The third question invites you to use imagery to visualize how you will apply the technique.
The last question asks the athlete to anticipate what specific self-talk statement will be most appropriate during the workout. One of my favorite mantras is “achieving a desired outcome”.
From time to time, following the workout, evaluate the session by asking five questions to understand the psychology used during the task and make plans for the next session:
What did you feel (what were you saying to yourself) when the workout or interval was over?
Did you do what you had intended to do?
How hard did you try (1 to 5 ranking)?
What needs to be changed?
What are you going to do the next time and how are you going to do it?
Remember to schedule recovery days and create focus on training days so you can maintain a healthy and balanced life.
Train for your next race.