Friday, October 5, 2012

Think Like a Champion

"Long distance running is 90% mental and the other half is physical."
-- Rich Davis
It’s October, 2007.  I’m at mile 25 of the St. George Marathon and 10 minutes away from a Boston qualifying race.  My legs are burning and I feel like I’m going to puke or pass out….whichever were to come first.  I want nothing more than to walk, to stop, or to lie down on the side of the street. 
I start talking to myself.  “You can do this.  You can do anything for 10 minutes…. You can do anything for 5 minutes…..  You can do anything for 3 minutes…..There’s the finish line, you can make it to the finish line.”  Crossing the finish line I collapse in a heap of happiness on the grass.  “I didn’t even recognize you – you did not look good” my husband claimed.  But I pushed past the pain, and finished 2 minutes ahead of my qualifying time.
So much of running is mental.  We tell ourselves that we need to get out of bed to train.  We tell ourselves to run a faster pace.  We tell ourselves to embrace the pain, and that we are ok.  Guess what?  Our brain listens!
It’s important that we keep thinking like a champion.  I love this article by Dr. Jo Ann Dahlkoetter called 7 Olympic Qualities for Sports and Life.
What are the key characteristics of well-motivated Olympic athletes and how do we achieve them?  Through her extensive work with numerous Olympians over several years, Dr. Dahlkoetter has developed a constellation of traits that defines the champion's mentality. Elite athletes do not possess superhuman powers or extraordinary qualifications limited to a selected few. The characteristics that make a champion can be attained and developed by ANYONE who wants to excel in sports, business or in life.”
Those traits include:
1.        Enthusiasm and desire
2.       Courage to Succeed
3.       Internal motivation and self- direction
4.       Commitment to excellence
5.       Discipline, consistency and organization
6.       Being focused yet relaxed
7.       Having the ability to handle diversity
Do you have what it takes to excel?  Stay mentally focused to run physically strong. 

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