This month the focus at adidas RunClub is on mindfulness, mind techniques and the correlation with enhancing physical performance. I have been interested in the mind and body connection for the past few years so it was awesome to catch up with Black Stick Rose Keddell and learn how she uses mind techniques to enhance her performance on the hockey field.
First Rose explained how, when going into a game, she convinces herself she's ready, even if she's not always feeling entirely confident; she uses positive self-talk to get 'in the zone'. Reminding herself she has done all the training she needs is a technique she uses to take confidence from past situations. I figure the more I run and train, the more this will be applicable to my running. I'm probably not quite at her fitness level yet. Not even remotely close. Actually that's negative self-talk so let's just say we are on a par and I'll be sprinting marathons in no time.
Rose also said she learns the most from viewing everything as a journey and enjoying the process instead of just focusing on the end result. I guess it could be easy just to go through the motions of training without being present as it becomes routine, but Rose is mindful of being in the now and taking it all in and enjoying it. It's inevitable anyone in sport (or life for that matter) will endure disappointment and 'failures' at certain stages but it's about finding a balance of learning from the setbacks and constantly moving forward, letting the challenges fuel your motivation.
My mindset has a huge impact on how well I train. If before I even start running I tell myself 'this will be hard' then I may as well not go because my mind is making it a lot harder for me to enjoy or thrive from my training.
The days where I just tweak my attitude a little bit and view the pain as progress, instead of unpleasant, I find a lot more rewarding!
My fascination with mindfulness meant it was really interesting to hear from a professional sportswoman at the top of her game and how she deals with the mental challenges of hockey. Obviously I'm not a professional sportswoman (at all) but I am constantly working on my awareness of the now and not attaching myself to outcomes as much. It's definitely not as easy as it sounds but it's so worth working on - as I reckon it helps us deal with tricky situations (on the track/field/pitch or life in general). In the morning I try to give myself at least 20 minutes of yoga or meditation so I have a chance to sit still, observe my thoughts and be grateful for whatever is going on in my life. If that seems daunting or unrealistic, start with 5 minutes and see how you go.