As my regular readers may know, visualization is a favorite topic of mine. In addition to general mental preparation for running and races, visualization has its own strong purpose. I've explored ways to meditate while running, including heart-based visualizing, a mental playground, and learning how to run from what lights you up.
Today I'm offering a sample visualization which is designed for the Golden State Half coming up in November. This can be redesigned to fit any race and is well worth doing and repeating in the week or two leading up to the race. The general principles followed in it are explained here.
Let's take a moment to get into a relaxed state before heading into the visualization.
Bring a hand to your stomach, and take a few deep breaths feeling your stomach expand with each in breath. If you cannot, don't worry about it and just continue to take the deep breaths however you like.
Feel the weight of your body sinking into the chair. Feel your feet resting on the ground.
Bring your awareness to your feet, feeling them relax and grow warm and heavy.
Bring your awareness to your lower legs, feeling them relax and grow warm and heavy.
Bring your awareness to your thighs, feeling them relax and grow warm and heavy.
Bring your awareness to your midsection, feeling it relax and grow warm and heavy.
Bring your awareness to your chest, feeling it relax and grow warm and heavy.
Bring your awareness to your shoulders, arms, hands, feeling them relax and grow warm and heavy.
Bring your awareness to your neck and head, feeling them relax and grow warm and heavy.
Bring your awareness to your face, feeling a relaxation mask. Feel its gentle weight against your skin. All the muscles on your face become relaxed as you put on the mask, smoothing out all frown lines and tension wrinkles. With the mask in place, the areas above and around your eyes completely relax. Your cheek muscles relax. The muscles around your mouth and jaw relax.
Take a moment to feel this, enjoying the sensations you notice.
With this relaxation, let's go to one hour before the race. Is there grass around you? How does it feel, smell? How do you look as you warm up and job to the starting line?
Feel composed, poised, confident, ready to burst forward like a contained horse let loose.
Pay close attention to your body. You may notice an increase in heart or breathing rate, you may begin to sweat and feel tension in your belly. These are normal responses.
Don't worry about them, take a few deep breaths and be kind to any nervousness or anxiety you may have.
Get in touch with how it feels to run your best, and imagine the race unfolding exactly as you would like.
Remember this or past successful races and take a moment to capture those positive feelings of fluidity, effortlessness, and strength.
See yourself at the race, warming up and stretching. Watch all the runners as they go through their routines. Feel the excitement and adrenaline, familiar sensations prior to a race.
You begin the race feeling relaxed, strong, and fluid.
The bike trail and road flows underneath you, flat and easy, as you look around the Bay and the city.
Here comes a hill, feel yourself glide over it effortlessly.
Feel the anticipation of coming to the Golden Gate bridge.
As you get onto the bridge, you enjoy the beauty of this landmark, feeling the fresh ocean breeze coming from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. You continue forward like a graceful cat.
Feel the force of a headwind pushing you back, and see how easily you adapt to this obstacle by becoming a wedge and slicing through it with ease.
Here comes some more hills, but you know they are coming and will end.
Feel yourself glide over it effortlessly, looking around at the beautiful Marin headlands, the entire city of San Francisco to the south, the Pacific Ocean, the Bay.
Now you are coming back down the hills and feel yourself glide down back to the Golden Gate bridge. Feel the wind cooling you down, feel yourself relaxing and catching your breath as you make your way back down.
Now you are on the other side of the bridge, only a few more miles! Feel the accomplishment of having made it through most of the race.
See yourself running through the finish line. Now the race is over and you have accomplished much. Feel successful.
Feel exhilarated by the results, as you taste the sweetness of orange wedges.
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