This is how meditation can help you finish a marathon
In previous occasions we talked about mindfulness and how science effectively supports some of the benefits it promises to obtain (although not all of them). We could say that mindfulness is, with its pluses and minuses, the current concept of meditation : a means to find ourselves present and to get rid of the stress and anxiety that surrounds us every day.
This time we will focus on the benefits that the practice of mindfulness or meditation can have on us as athletes: can it really help us to perform more and obtain better results in our sport?
Meditation has had a relationship since its inception with different religions, such as Buddhism. Today, this meditation moves away from the religious plane and is closer to that mundane level, using this practice that promotes concentration in the present moment to achieve better results in everything related to our day to day : sports, work and even family relationships or social.
In the case of sports, mindfulness or meditation has been shown to be effective (according to a study published in The sport journal ) when it comes to motivating athletes to train more regularly and to be more satisfied with the results of their training. .
Sometimes the importance of mental training has been equated with physical training in the case of athletes, and the power of concentration and visualization can help us improve our sports results.
The importance of visualization when it comes to achieving your goals
The display is an important part of sports psychology , both in training and especially in competitions. Already in 1999, a review of studies called Imagery use in sport: A literature review and applied model , stressed the importance of viewing athletes before and during competitions as a method to learn new movements and to improve their sporting results.
Being able to visualize in our mind what we are going to do during training or competition, before it takes place, activates a specific area of our brain and helps us create neural connections and establish the paths we will follow when we have to pass to action .
Obviously, this does not mean that with just thinking about it we can do it: physical training is essential. But visualizing ourselves achieving our goal and mentally review each phase of this (whether it is a gymnastics movement or how our performance will be when running a marathon) may predispose us to achieve it in a simpler way.
On the other hand, visualization, mindfulness (focusing on the present moment) and meditation in general can also help us to calm the pre-competition or pre-training nerves and, in this way, concentrate on what we are going to do and help us get it.
How visualization helped me in my first marathon
Personally, I used the visualization method last year when I faced my first marathon : a test for which I had trained a lot physically, but that also has an important mental component.
At the time of applying the visualization in the race , it is useful to know the route of the same in advance and to establish an adequate career strategy that will help us to know when we will have to tighten the rhythm and when we can relax.
Visualizing ourselves, not only entering the goal, but crossing each of the streets through which the race will take place will help us to be more relaxed and control the nerves in “D-day”, and also to create positive associations in Our brain.
During marathon training, something that is essential to work in order to avoid possible injuries and improve our performance is the career technique . Visualize ourselves striding wide , maintaining a good posture, landing with the forefoot and maintaining a good alignment will make it much easier to improve our running.
If you are going to run a marathon shortly (the Seville marathon next weekend, for example) you are in time to analyze the route and visualize how those kilometers will be : what your career strategy will be like how are you going to move in each phase of it. The previous visualization and concentration will help you cross the finish line.