Use Visualization Techniques to Achieve Your Running Goals

Visualization techniques can help you define and shape your future accomplishments through visualization and imagining positive images. You can attract positive outcomes by visualizing them. Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish between what your mind sees (a mental image) and what your eyes see (your current reality). Your self-concept is only limited by what you think you can do. Visualize whatever you want to achieve in vivid detail.

When you use visualization techniques and methods properly, you can clearly see in your mind's eye the positive image in great detail.  You imagine yourself running strong and fast and feeling great as you do it. Visualizations affect your nervous system by using the same muscle patterns as if you were actually performing the activity. Your brain interprets the movements as real allowing your subconscious to believe you are performing these actions with ease and without fatigue or stress.

"What you think you become."

-- Buddha

Visualize your goal with great detail using as many of your senses as you can. Practice as many times as you can throughout the day. It can be particularly helpful to do when you are going to bed as it will stay with your subconscious throughout the night. 

Add as much detail as you can to the positive image and get your senses flowing. What are you feeling? Imagine all the muscles in your body as they move continuously with ease in perfect form. What do you see and hear? Can you detect any smells? The more vivid your image, the more effective it will be for you. You can also write down the details of your positive image to help you envision your experience over and over. 

Overcome Obstacles and Feel More
Confident with Visualization Techniques

You can use visualization techniques to help you overcome any difficulties you are experiencing with running. If you think your form needs to improve, imagine running with a beautiful, strong and efficient posture. If you find hills difficult, visualize that you are running up hills easily and you conquer each one as they appear. They are no longer a problem for you. 

Visualization Techniques for Runners

Visualization techniques can help you feel more confident as you have already accomplished your goal in your mind. You will be less likely to have negative thoughts while running and if they do arise, you can use your positive image to overcome them. 

Visualization Techniques to Recover
From Injuries

You can also use visualization techniques to recover from an injury. Imagine positive healing energy flowing into the area of your injury. Your muscles and ligaments are healing rapidly. You are happy that you will soon be able to run again. The positive images can help speed recovery. 

"Visualize the energy of unconditional love filling every cell of your body and healing you completely."

-- John F. Demartini

When you are injured, visualize that you are doing specific running workouts and drills. Imagine that your running is improving with the mental workouts you are doing. You are running strong and injury free. Strong visuals of you running while injured can help you maintain your skills while you are not able to run and will help you to recover faster.

Visualization Techniques to Enhance
Race Performance

A very effective way of teaching the body how to do something is to do it first in your mind in great detail. Through the memory of the experience, the body learns how to physically output what it has experienced in the memory.

Athletes, such as Tiger Woods, use visualization techniques to train their mind and body to perform their best. They vividly imagine with great sensory detail themselves performing perfectly, e.g. a perfect game, a perfect score in a competition, running a fast marathon, or performing a perfect high dive. As they visualize, they focus on how the body feels in each moment as each movement is executed. They create a memory of a perfect performance and in doing so, they teach the body what it needs to do and how to do it.

On the day of the competition or race, their mind and body know how to perform. These athletes feel confident as they know it will be easier for them to give a great performance as their mind and body have already experienced it. They feel as if they have already accomplished their goal. They just need to repeat it again.

The following race visualization can help you practice and master the art of visualizing. Use it to help you visualize an upcoming race before you do it. It will help you feel more confident and less anxious. We all tend to get nervous before a race even if we are well prepared. This exercise will help you overcome pre-race anxiety and help you achieve your running goals.

Visualization Exercise to Practice before a Race:

Use this visualization exercise as a powerful tool to help you mentally prepare for that big race you have been training so hard for. Achieve your goals by imagining them first. This exercise is also available in audio format (see below for details).

  • Take a few deep breaths before beginning this exercise to help you focus and relax.
  • Try to engage all your senses as you imagine yourself on the morning of the race. How do you feel? What do you hear and see and smell? 
  • See yourself getting dressed in your running clothes. Feel your clothes on your body as you move about getting your things ready. Notice any familiar sounds or smells as you prepare.
  • Now you are preparing and eating your healthy breakfast. Notice how it smells and tastes as it fills your body with energy. 
  • You are feeling really good and you are excited now on the morning of the race. You are well rested and you have prepared well. You have done everything you need to do and you are ready to go. There is lots of time for you to get to the race start.
  • As you arrive at the race start, you can feel the anticipation in the air. It's so exciting!  What do you see and hear as you watch all the runners and volunteers getting ready for the big moment? Just imagine it. Everyone is so busy.
  • The air is filled with excitement and energy. You are calm and relaxed but excited too. What is the weather like? Will it be hot or cool on this day?
  • The race will begin in a few minutes. You take a few deep breaths to center yourself as you line up at the start. Feel how strong you are now. You have trained well and your body is ready for this race.
  • You are proud to be here with all these wonderful people and to take part in such an amazing event.
  • The gun sounds and the race begins. Everyone starts to run. You are ready for this moment and you begin running too.
  • See yourself clearly now as you start running. See your clothes, your racing bib, your shoes, your water bottle, you are running strong and relaxed and it feels fantastic. You feel the muscles in your legs and your arms—they are all moving easily.Everything is in sync. 
  • You can hear the sound of your feet and your breath as your move forward in perfect running form.
  • You can see the crowds and landmarks along the course, the clouds in the sky, the trees or the buildings, the other runners, the mile or kilometer markers, the nutrition stations and the volunteers along the way. You smile and wave at the volunteers.
  • You are now a part of this race and everything it entails. 
  • You can smell the fresh air. What other scents would be present along this route? Just imagine them.
  • You feel very relaxed now but you are also energized. You are moving along easily now and you are feeling great. You are fully experiencing this moment.
  • You are pacing yourself correctly. You are running strong and you are running tall and proud.
  • You are now at the half-way mark. You feel very strong now. You know you are capable of completing this race and you know you will feel great at the end.
  • With each step you take, you become more in tune with your surroundings and the environment. Your mind and body become one in perfect harmony. 
  • You hear the sounds from the crowds cheering and the music playing along the course. It's so energizing!
  • Notice each distinct scent along the route—the foods, nature's bouquet, sweaty runners.
  • You stop briefly to refuel. Imagine how your drink or snack tastes as you replenish your body. As you refuel, imagine your body being filled with great strength, power and stamina.
  • You are exactly where you want to be. You are enjoying the race--every moment of it!
  • You love the atmosphere and the excitement of the crowds. You are living your dream. Today is the day. You are in total control of your body, your mind and your spirit.
  • You are feeling very confident as you near the end of the race. You surge forward with power and speed as the finish line draws nearer.
  • The crowds are cheering you on as they call out your number.
  • Visualize how it feels now as you finish the race. The movements of your legs and arms are strong and controlled as you swiftly and easily shoot over the finish line.
  • You are triumphant as you raise your arms in the air. You look good and feel great. You are finished. Yay!!
  • You are smiling and you are happy. The medal is being placed around your neck as you walk towards the refreshments table. Take a deep breath and savor this moment. It feels wonderful! You have earned this and it is yours to enjoy and remember always!

Visualization techniques rock! Use them to achieve your goals and have the best race day experience ever!

This visualization exercise is now available in audio format (MP3). Get your copy now to ensure that your next race day experience is awesome!

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Related articles:

Performance Anxiety

How to Stay Motivated

Race Day Tips

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