Pain is about deciding .

We can keep in mind that the experience of pain is voluntary. What we do – particularly those of us competing at the amateur level – is by choice. If we can accept that our choice to compete is also a choice to feel pain, we can then employ coping strategies.How we perceive pain is a choice. We can choose the level of intensity of pain we experience. William Shakespeare wrote, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Pain is temporary.

It always ends – often in a relatively short amount of time.Employing mental skills helps.Knowing how to and remembering to relax when experiencing pain is crucial. If you’re tense you are likely to experience more pain not less.Breathe. Controlled breathing not only induces relaxation but also facilitates performance by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Goal setting is crucial.

Goal setting keeps focused on the task at hand, not the pain. Entering a race without a focus allows outside distractions such as pain to interfere with our performance.Maintain the mindset of control.Even on diet and weights.

Use positive self-talk.

Turn negative self-talk into something positive. You may not be able to control what your competitors do, or the pain that a particular course “dishes out,” but you can always control your own thoughts.While this study examined the experiences of high level competitive cyclists most, if not all of the findings, apply to any sport in which we feel the pain of exertion whether we’re running, swimming, race-walking, skiing or engaging in any other painful activity.

Using negative thinking positively.

There are two types of negative thinking: give-up negative thinking and fire-up negative thinking. Give-up negative thinking involves feelings of loss and despair and helplessness, for example, “It’s over. I can’t finish.” You dwell on past mistakes and failures. It hurts your motivation and confidence, and it takes your focus away from continuing to give your best effort. Your intensity also drops because, basically, you’re surrendering and accepting defeat

There is never a place in triathlon for give-up negative thinking. In contrast, fire-up negative thinking involves feelings of anger and energy, of being psyched up, for example, “I’m doing so badly. I hate performing this way” (said with anger and intensity). You look to doing better in the future because you hate performing poorly. Fire-up negative thinking increases your motivation to fight and turn things around. Your intensity goes up and you’re bursting with energy. Your focus is on continuing to work hard and not let the training or race beat you.

Fire-up negative thinking can be a positive way to turn your performance around. If you’re going to be negative, make sure you use fire-up negative thinking. Don’t use it too much though. Negative thinking and negative emotions require a lot of energy and that energy should be put in a more positive direction for your training and races. Also, it doesn’t feel very good to be angry all of the time

And end of it all...Reap what you have sowed.

at Thursday, July 31, 2008  


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