Excerpt from the book, Your Performing Edge
Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter

POSITIVE IMAGES: Use your mental images throughout your workout to create feelings of speed and power. (e.g., If you’re walking or running and you come to an unexpected hill visualize a magnet pulling you effortlessly to the top). Use visualization before, during and after your training to build confidence and new motivation.

POWER WORDS: Make positive self-statements continually. Negative thinking is common; everyone has an inner critic. Become aware of these thoughts early on. Don’t fight with them; simply acknowledge their presence, and then substitute positive power words. (e.g., When you’re thinking: This hurts too much, I want to lie down and die; say to yourself: This feeling is connected with getting healthier and doing my absolute best).

PRESENT FOCUS: Practice being in the present moment. Remind yourself to stay in the here and now. Let past and future events fade into the background.

ADVANTAGE: Use everything in the workout to your advantage. For example, if another person passes you, tuck in behind and go with his or her energy for as long as possible. You may catch a second wind and be carried on to a personal record.

CHUNKING-GOALS: Focus on your immediate target. Break your training goals down into small, manageable pieces and begin to focus only on the first portion, not the entire workout (e.g., Say to yourself: I’m just relaxing and getting my rhythm during the first mile, or the first workout session).

BODY SCAN: Pay close attention to your tension level and training form. Do a body scan while working out and relax your tight muscles frequently. Ask yourself: Are my shoulders and neck relaxed; how does this pace feel; how much energy is left in my legs?

PAIN AS EFFORT: If you have good pain that is not seriously damaging your body, just shift attention to your breathing or cadence of movement, and let the discomfort fade into the background. You can also use the pain as feedback. Register it not as pain but as effort level. Say: Now I know exactly how hard I’m working. I know how this pace feels. My body is doing what it should be doing.

DETACH FROM OUTCOME: Look only at what you need to do right now (e.g., pace, breathing, concentration); your final time, place, or score will take care of itself.

FOCUSED ATTENTION: Be aware of distractions. Breathe out unwanted thoughts with your next exhale and re-focus your attention instantly on what is important.

CELEBRATION: Enjoy and appreciate your fitness and strength. When you exercise, relax and let your body do what you’ve trained it to do. Remember that your goals are realistic. All you need to do is perform up to your capabilities.

Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, best-selling author of YOUR PERFORMING EDGE, is an internationally recognized sports psychologist, past winner of the San Francisco Marathon and 2nd in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. For your FREE MINI COURSE with valuable TRAINING TIPS and articles, or your autographed book, and NEW AUDIO PROGRAM, visit http://www.YourPerformingEdge.com. Click on Mini Course. Dr. Dahlkoetter provides personal coaching by phone for optimal mind-body performance. Email: [email protected] or call 650- 654-5500.