One of the keys to performing well is eliminating anxiety. I have no fear of
failure and no fear of success; both will happen. I do not get embarrassed.
What happens happens and it matters little to nothing to me if others don’t
I do not train to beat people. I do not go into races determined to beat a
particular runner or runners. I do use competitors as barometers, but no
malice is involved. This way, when someone passes me, I am not demoralized
because of harboring ill will; my concentration is not broken by negative
I really love to race, and I remind myself of this. When I am in a highly
competitive mode this is especially true. Often, during difficult segments
of my training, I recall times I wasn’t racing and how during such periods I
really seemed to be missing something; I recall race days and how I enjoy
every minute of them.
I have performed well in other sports. I have very good recall of the
feelings that I had – the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the noises – that
surrounded very successful events. I spend a lot of time visualizing those
feelings. I visualize the preparation that I had before good performances
and I emulate this as best I can.
I make sure that I am training correctly. I have absolute confidence that
proper training brings results. Sometimes the results don’t come on the
exact day we expect they will, but they do come.
I try to remain relaxed. Bad workouts don’t bother me; they come and go. A
new day is a new day and I wake up believing in breakthroughs.
I have a firm belief that the body is much like the brain. It’s said that
each of us uses only a small percentage of our brainpower, and I believe
that about our bodies. The trick is releasing this power.
I also believe in stories such as women lifting cars off their children.
This can be done; I know it can.
I believe that some sick people can augment their own curative processes
with the correct attitude; maybe by only a small percentage, but a small
percentage can make a huge difference in this sport. With that in mind, I
try to visualize physical recovery processes occuring.
I do not expect bad things to happen. bad races are flukes, and good races
are not – good races are supposed to happen.
I visualize the discomfort of racing and how I am able put it aside in very
good races. When the discomfort hits in a race, I am therefore prepared to
deal with it. I visualize a controlled but relaxed form of aggression. I
practice this in certain workouts. This does not mean that I train like a
crazed animal, refusing to acknowledge pain; insrtead, I try to remain
relaxed yet maintain my intensity during workouts that are “up-tempo” or on
My goals are clear in my mind and I remind myself daily that each run
contributes to these goals. In contrast, there have been times I have
trained well but have had no goals other than to go to races and have a good
time. This can sometimes be a problem at this stage of my running. I know
that regaining the form I had as a twentysomething just will not happen, so
I tend to race for fun and not necessarily for accomplishment. At times I
had no goals or direction; what’s different now is that I have clear goals,
a true desire for a particular result. I tilt the scales a little more
toward accomplishment than toward fun. I still have fun – just not to the
point of degrading my training or racing.
When I am serious, I make certain I do the little things that are important.
I visualize and verbalize; I have inner conversations with myself that put
all of the above things together. It is almost a daily meditation or prayer.
I am training right, I have a goal, I know that I have had breakthrough
performances in the past and that I can still have “relative breakthroughs.”
I am serious, I am having fun, and I savor the moments that I am training
and racing. Very few people can experience what we as runners and racers
experience: having a great workout, the excitement of race day from the
minute we wake up until the minute the gun goes off. The thrill of be able
to run and race like a deer; the ability to lift the car off of the baby.
These are all things that I keep processing, almost as a form of
self-hypnosis, on a daily basis.
I let these things fill me. Anything can happen, and I am ready.