Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Train Your Brain

The formidable Chrissie Wellington
Yesterday CNN published an article on four-time World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington. Last October Chrissie won her 4th World Championship Ironman in Kona, Hawaii just weeks after having a bad bike crash forcing her to race with a pulled chest muscle. In the article, Chrissie says:

"I hope I showed, through my performance there, that sporting success rests, in part, with having the mental fortitude necessary to overcome our fears, pain and discomfort."
So how do you train your brain to help you achieve your goals? Have a mantra. 

I've read several articles over the last few months in Runner's World magazine and online about having a personal mantra. According to Wikipedia, a mantra is a sound, syllable or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation". 

According to running blogger Shut Up + Run, her mantra is “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.”  Over the last few weeks, I've had to push myself when running with tired legs after teaching pump. For instance, Monday I taught Pump, ran 10 miles and then taught ZUMBA. Tuesday I woke up to teach Flow and had to get on the treadmill again for 5 miles at a pushing pace. I found myself repeating, 
“I am strong. I am an Ironman.” 
Now I know I have not yet earned the title of Ironman; however, that is my one and only goal for this year. Putting the name of Ironman in front of me helped me push through the low points of the workout and it truly seemed to help. The low points tend to be quick blips and if you can just push through you can make it to the end. I plan on taking Chrissie's tip of writing the mantra on my water bottle or getting a race wrist band. When I hit the 14th hour of my Ironman and need help to get through, I hope the mantra will help achieve my goal to be an Ironman. 

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