How would you like to run like this in your 80s?
The following is an extract from a speech Earl Fee made about his book, "The Complete Guide to Running" Here he talks a little about mental training. My comments are in bold.
Many runners are spending about 6 to 12 hours per week on running training but hardly anyone is spending even 1 minute per week on mental training. (Being somewhat of a self help book junkie I was very interested to see how these kind of techniques can be used to help one run better)
If you are knowledgeable about the mental techniques and practise them frequently you can greatly improve your performance. You need to learn about the many relaxation, breathing, visualization, focusing techniques and assertive statements.(I've noticed as I've increased my training efforts, mileage, and intensity, it takes great strength of mind to continue, follow through on the plans I've set. Today I had a goal of trying to run as many sub 3:45Ks as I could but was only able to do 6 before I called it quits. I didn't have any lactate acid problems and I think my body was up for a few more but my mind was screaming to me from the 3rd K on to stop. "It's too hot, it said; You're not fit enough for this; Is that a pain in your knee? Did you leave the oven on?" Well you get the picture.)
Vividly imagining is like the real experience The nervous system does not know the difference. This visualization technique is further reinforced by assertive statements which you can use at any time during the day, Repeat to yourself positive statements like” I can run relaxed and light.” “I am strong and prepared.” etc. One powerful technique is to act as if. By acting relaxed, confident and energized you can actually achieve these characteristics. ( I fully endorse what Mr. Fee says about being positive. While I was a really active positive kid, in the last 20 years I've not always been that way. But recently I try to put a positive spin on everything even if I do come off sounding like a bit of a tool. Example Person A: "Hey Scott how was your weekend?" Scott: "Well it was less of a weekend and more of a journey of personal fulfillment." Person A: "You're a wanker!")
Mental training can give you that winning edge. (Once more I totally agree. It has certainly worked for old Earl and it may, I mean will work for me too.)