Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Thoughts = Happy Training

Are you aware of just how powerful your MIND is when it comes to fitness, training and racing?
A positive outlook can make all the difference between getting it done and getting it done RIGHT!

If you are reading my blog you are most likely someone who already trains in some way-in the gym, at home, outside. You are a runner or triathlete. Or you may be seeking to life a healthier, more active life.
I have good news for you:

Having a positive attitude towards your fitness will result in better workouts, more rewarding training sessions and sustained motivation for reaching your goals!

Who does not want to finish a grueling set of Yasso 800's with a smile?
Or know that the megalong set of LT intervals on the trainer mid-winter will payoff later in the season?
Your mind can get you through that painful set of squats!

When you love your healthy lifestyle, you are more eager to get in those quality workouts, fuel your body with clean foods AND according to one study (Annals of Behavioral Medicine) you are more likely to take the stairs, park your car further away from your destination while running errands and engage in other forms of exercise without even thinking about it!

There are also other rewards to reap-
-optimistic women had a 16% lower risk than pessimists of have a heart attack and a 14% lower risk of death for any reason*
-optimistic men & women may fight off infections better than those with a pessimistic outlook*
*information from Circulation, 2010

So how do you channel POSITIVITY into your training sessions??

1-Build upon your strengths
*From Marie-Josee Salvas Sharr, Life Coach-Take an assessment: Think of real-life situations/challenges and the skills you use to deal with them. What are those strengths that you bring to the table? (ie creativity, leadership, curiosity, persistence, being hopeful, etc) Make a plan for incorporating each strength into both your fitness and your daily life.

For example, if you notice that hope gets you through tough situations, tap into your hope by envisioning how you'll still have the same energy level 10 years from now by taking care of yourself now.
Are you Curious? Feed that curiosity by always trying something new! A new exercise, a new run route, a new healthy dish. Are you a leader? Think about what a positive example you are setting for your family by living a healthy life or reaching your goals!

I know that my training sessions are like making deposits into a savings account--I will "cash in" at a later date (on race day!) and enjoy the payout from all my hard work. While the harder training sessions may hurt, the sense of accomplishment is worth it in the long run.

2-Tune in to your workouts
"Tune into your workouts instead of always trying to tune them out" say Rob Udewitz, PhD of Behaviour Therapy of New York.
Dr. Udewitz works with many athletes and they often talk about mental struggles and self-defeating thoughts. There are 2 ways he counsels athletes and fitness enthusiasts to TUNE IN:
-Notice your thought patterns when you are planning your goals, contemplating your next move or even in the middle of your workout. Instead of self-talk riddled with "I am never going to get through this workout" or "I always let myself get distracted and take the easy way out" make statements like "I might struggle now, but I believe I can finish this workout strong" or "Even if I am tempted to give up on this goal, I'll take it day by day".
Challenge the all or nothing thinking whenever you see it creeping up.

3-Think like a Newbie!
Remember how new and exciting it was when you started? You thought like a "student", eager to study and learn as much as possible about your fitness-ie running, weight training, triathlon. Have the mindset of a beginner even if you are well beyond the beginner's level physically speaking.
Tap into that passion that got you motivated to train in the first place

4-Grow your Goals
It is important to set goals and then consistently make new goals-big and small.
I am forever making lists of things I want to achieve-it keeps me focused on what I am doing and I find it so rewarding to reach those little milestones I set for myself.
I do this on a daily basis too! For example, yesterday interval session on the treadmill was not what I had planned-I wanted to be outside-but I made the best of it and made a mini-goal to hit a sub-6 pace for one of the 2 minute intervals. I was able to get in 3 intervals at a 5:48 pace. An example of a small success that kept my outlook positive even when my training session did not go as planned.

5-Make a Mantra
Create a mantra that you can repeat when you are struggling mentally. It can be a motivational quote, lyrics from a song, a couple of words that have meaning only to you-whatever it is, make it something that you can hold onto and repeat when you feel like quitting or giving up.
I know that one mantra I use when I am in the pain locker is "Don't cry like a b!tch when you feel the pain". It is a simple lyric from a song by the Sick Puppies-it's fierce, crass, direct and it gets me through those tough sessions.


Do you stay positive when the workouts get tough?
How do YOU keep a sunny outlook?

What are some of you favorite training tips?

Share one goal you have--big or small!


fancy nancy said...

A big goal for me is to run a half under 1:50 however I did not do well goal setting this summer....having too much fun! Now that it is over I am planning much better and this post helped a lot! I have my eyes on the prize!

Katie said...

I needed to see this today, thanks for sharing. great post.

Melissa Cunningham said...

love this post!!!
yesterday while doing (slow)progressive miles,i found myself hittig that mental block on the last mile-so instead of going slower like my mind wanted to do,i reminded myself why i was doing this in the first place,told myself i was never going to get faster by going slower,i bumped the pace up,broke the mile up by 400m in my head,told myself to get my butt off my butt and i finished the last mile pretty decent!!

Jason said...

Do you stay positive when the workouts get tough?
How do YOU keep a sunny outlook?
--> I stay very positive because this is the only chance at life I get and I better make the most of it. There are times when it sucks but I know I'm getting better and I smile because of it.

What are some of you favorite training tips?
--> Always smile, but especially during the toughest of times. Those around you have it tougher and your smile may make their day.

Share one goal you have--big or small!
--> Kona and Boston.

BabyWilt said...

What a great post, thank you. I totally agree with the mind being a great part of training. Whilst I've been trying to get back into running its been my mind that has been sabotaging my efforts. Working on getting that sorted.

Kristyn said...

great post!
my current goals:
finish my first Half (RockNRoll NOLA) in March 2012
finish my first Sprint Tri (IronGirl New Orleans) in May 2012
No time goals--the plan is to just cross the finish line!