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Visualise Your Run

This lesson is a part of an audio course Become a No Excuses Runner by Heiko Stribl

I wandering mind often leads to missed opportunities. What a great moment because this is going to change after you listen and implement this lesson plan on listenable.

Has it sometimes been difficult for you to go outside for a run? Would you rather sit inside and ponder, think about it, have another cup of coffee? Or when you’re on your own, you’re just not getting that joy, that sense of satisfaction you perhaps once used to?

In both cases, it is your brain that is in a monkey state. For lack of better word, monkey state means jumping from one topic to the next up and down left right center back forth.

What it actually is, is your brain looking for an instant reward. Instant gratification is distracting itself until it finds something that does it well.

What today’s lesson will do is it will help you to learn to focus your mind, and to ensure external elements do not interfere. This means we are going to use your powerful procrastination time and change it into something positive.

Having taught this method to hundreds of students, ensured that the majority who applied it, got a strong sense for meeting run schedules, actually looking forward to their next run session, plus they could follow a training plan that previously would have overwhelmed them.

This was not accomplished because of me, but because runners used the content and took out regular time rather than procrastinating. The runner filled his mind with thoughts that enabled him to improve. Of course, this does not compensate for a missed running session, but first, we need to work on our attitudes. Are you ready? So here goes.

Just for a second imagine a picture in your mind of a beautiful path in the forest that symbolizes the time of your life. Currently, you’re following a path, it feels good right now, but you know it’s not where you want to be. Do you want to progress, do you want to improve your beard, enjoy your own, or achieve new distances, new challenges? However, this path through this beautiful landscape has many fights, many sounds. You keep on looking left and right, Apps even stop to smell the flowers, and you enjoy feeling the cool soft grass under your feet. Next thing you know, you’re not sure of your direction anymore. You’re still on the path but you’re not sure where it is leading you.

You reach a crossroad, choose a different path and the ground suddenly becomes very hard to walk on. You realize the path isn’t heading anyway specific, you will end up again when you started.

This way, you realize if you spend more time walking around aimlessly you will have walked, time will have passed but you will have nothing to show for it. Right, I’m sure without knowing you, that if you paid close attention you could relate to the image that was just created in your mind.

You’re not alone, since the invention of the smartphone, every day more and more people are prone to distractions. Are living a life that has been glued to a small screen, and you live in a world of constant distraction.

There are many hurdles that keep you from achieving your success. That keeps you from becoming the runner you want to be.

The difference is that the runner who after many years still gets pleasure and joy and results from his sport is able to focus, and channel his energy on one thing at a time.

Of course, I also own a cellular device, simply because it has so many great functions, and yes my screen times are sometimes more than I thought. But I’m very much aware of the pitfalls, the endless rabbit holes that could keep me glued to the screen, and away from my actual passion: running.

According to new research people stay on websites that they are on for the first time less than 20 seconds. However, if we really want to improve and learn something new we need to make an investment of time, and concentration.

There is so much that you can do in this forest, so many wonderful new things to try, but best is to select one thing and carry on with it, carry it through till the end. We all want the newest next best thing.

Even if you have already tried visualization once, perhaps you felt it didn’t work, I urge you to try this as these unique steps have a high success rate amongst runners. I want to explain why. Here you will only focus on a short film, a short clip of where you are running. Most visualization techniques have you imagining a situation where you cross the finish line, where you’re standing on the podium, where you are getting a medal. Research has proven that an end result vision makes the mundane steps less attractive. But it is exactly the running steps you take that are going to lead you to your goal.

By focusing on the actual running in a real-life environment, will ensure that your running form improves, which will lead to a better pace, as in your mind you have already practiced this at a much higher level. Even if now you are perhaps somewhat skeptical, put your skips as lovingly to one side, and try the steps afterward you can compare and can evaluate. Don’t get sidetracked by life's many different parts and distractions, visualize the basics, the foundation as this will lead you to become a better runner.

Enough suspense.

Here are 5 steps. That is best written down, and then you should apply them for the next month, daily:

  1. Find a comfortable quiet spot where you can sit down undisturbed. Don’t forget to put your magical device on silent.
  2. In the beginning, just set the timer for five minutes. That way you have no excuses, if you don’t even have 5 minutes, you are too advanced in making excuses. Ideal would be 10 so depending on how good you are at making yourself avoid such tools you have an option.
  3. You can focus on one spot, and just start to breathe in a relaxed manner. No reason to over exaggerate, just breathe so you feel absolutely comfortable, and when you’re ready close your eyes.
  4. Now picture yourself, as you are running. A short movie of you in the middle of your run distance. You are wearing your favorite running gear. The weather is just the way you like it, do you hear the sound of outdoors, perhaps you are running along the trail and here are some birds hurry away or you are running in the downtown area where city sounds dominated environment, focus on how you feel, your legs light a good pace, your breathing powerful but not overexerting yourself. Perhaps you smell food, a favorite meal being cooked and as you look up you see a sky that inspires you to run even further. Maybe even have a taste in your mouse or just enjoy taking a swig of the drink you are carrying with you.
  5. Now focus only on this picture, don’t go further forward, don't go through the back. Don’t add more influence just see yourself running at a fantastic stride wearing your favorite running gear, your pace is excellent you hear yourself breathing the taste in your mouth the smells look up again look at the sky see yourself in the surroundings how good you are looking. You only focus on your steps, on your pace, on how you look, how you feel what you hear, and everything is going exactly as you would want it to be. When your timer goes off, enjoy that thought linger on it for a little bit longer, savor it. With your right hand, pat yourself on the left shoulder smile whilst you are doing it, and compliment yourself on this performance.

Repeat tomorrow.

By doing this exercise daily, you are changing a frustrating time of your life into a fruitful training session. The only thing procrastination and visualization have in common is your sitting. But the effects are dramatically different. And your brain needs this time, like a stew, or a certain meal or a fruit that needs time to cook, to absorb the flavor, or to ripen, that is what is happening inside your brain at that moment of time.

You will have changed your procrastination time to concentration-time by simply visualizing five simple steps. I wish you a lot of pleasure on your journey make it a good one

Thank you for listening to this course on Listenable! I hope you enjoyed it.

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Written by

Heiko Stribl