A lot of people are talking about the CrossFit Games Row Event that was released last night. The athletes are going to complete a 1/2 marathon on a Concept 2 Rower tomorrow to kick off day 1 of The 2013 Games. Athletes, commentators and spectators are buzzing about the mental challenge that this WOD presents.
The longer the workout, the more time there is to think and strategize. You’ll want to make sure that you know how to have your thoughts working for you, not against you.
Practice switching your focus between “association” and “dissociation” during longer events (running, swimming, rowing, etc.). Get comfortable tuning into, and then away from, your bodily sensations by changing what you’re thinking about. You don’t leave your physical preparations to chance, so don’t go without a mental plan either
Here’s a quick strategy that you can try when facing endurance events
- Association = tuning into your breathing, mechanics, muscular sensations, changes in your body, pain, cadence, speed, etc.
- Dissociation = directing your attention away from bodily sensations and distracting the mind. This can be done with music and singing lyrics, playing mind games, counting, visualizations, recalling the past or simply listing things you are grateful for. You don’t want to stay in dissociation too long, and it’s always important to check back in with your form and technique to get the most out of your movement pattern.
The best athletes have practiced this before and are comfortable “tuning in” and “tuning out.” They know how to switch their focus back and forth so they can stay calm and relaxed, yet steady and consistent. They are able to be confident and positive, and can easily switch up their thoughts, because they have a plan (especially when they catch themselves feeling pain, discomfort or thinking negative thoughts).
Want more? All sorts of tips, drills and strategies can be found in The Mental Edge Program