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How To Use Mental Training To Improve Your Run Times

"I am going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it"  - Steve Prefontaine

Marathon Training Books

Mental training can have a very important place in the sport of running. Most athletes realize the need for mental training in other sports but do not recognize the need for mental training in the sport of running simply because they donít know how mental training can apply to running. This common misconception often stems from the fact that running is an individual sport which is fairly simple and straightforward. With other sports such as baseball or golf which obviously require a great deal of technique, athletes correctly assume mental training such as visualization and training for mental focus are necessary. However, they do not recognize this need in running because they do not realize the importance of good running form for both speed and efficiency. This article will provide insight into how mental training can help runners to improve their performance.

Using visualization to make changes to technique is worthwhile for runners. There are a number of different technical elements to running including stride length, positioning of the arms, breathing and foot positioning which can all be tweaked to make a runner more efficient. Being able to focus on these elements and make subtle changes is a highly mental skill which involves a great deal of training. Runners need to be able to recognize when there is a need for these changes in their form and also need to be able to determine when the changes they make to their form are improving the efficiency of the runners form. Some runners use video taping in an effort to learn more about their current form and to find areas where improvement is possible. It is also advisable for these same runners to videotape themselves again after implementing form changes to ensure the changes they have made are having he effect they expected.

Another part of the mental training associated with running includes planning a race strategy and devising a nutritional plan. The strategy for a race may include the pace at a number of different key aspects of the race including the start, the finish, hills, flats and sections of the race in which the runner is attempting to pass another runner. Mentally preparing for these situations and devising a plan of action for these situations will help the runner to respond appropriately in a race situation. The runner may also use mental training to develop a nutritional plan for training as well as for during races. The nutrition during the training periods should include a health balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to keep the runner healthy during training. During a race, the nutrition plan may include mostly carbohydrates which are quickly absorbed for shorter races. However, runners may want to incorporate small amounts of protein into their nutritional strategy for longer races such as marathons or ultra marathons.

Finally, runners can use activities such as yoga to prepare them mentally for running. Yoga is one example of an exercise which requires the mind and body to work together and yoga also encourages meditation and clear thought. Both of these aspects can help to make a runner more prepared for training and races mentally. Failure to engage in these types of activities in which the mind is forced to concentrate on one issue at a time can result in the runner being distracted while running. This can cause problems to the runners form if it results in the body being too tense.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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