In my post about the Psychology of Running I told you what I do in terms of keeping control of my mind and my thoughts during an endurance event like the Comrades Marathon. I also said that I have a little energy exercise which I do when it feels like my wheels are about to fall off, and here it is…
Note: This may seem a bit airy-fairy and hippy but I use it all the time and it works like a charm!
The aim with this exercise is to draw on energy which is all around us, for our own use. This energy is essentially ripe for the picking, we just need to access it and the easiest way is to think of those things which inspire us and make us happy. The way I do this is through the recollection of incredible things which I have experienced. The way our brain stores our memories is to attach an emotion to the event before it is filed away as a memory – so in recalling certain events you have the ability to experience the accompanying emotion along with it.
To start this exercise, I cast my mind back to every incredibly moment in my life, things like your first kiss (although for some of us that is WAY to far gone), your wedding day, the day your child was born, your first Comrades finish, travel – whatever makes you feel good and can feel a physical response to.
Then you need to imagine the emotion of those memories as light which collects in an inward spiral in your solar plexis or just below your ribs, basically where you would feel what we call ‘butterflies’ if you are nervous. You need to imagine these emotions coming together to form a ball of energy (I usually imagine it being white or pale yellow) which is so tightly bound that it is reflecting intense light outwards from the centre of your body. Now you can feed off this ball of energy whenever you need to. You will probably find that in this process you will feel the hairs raise on your arms and you might even get goosebumps without it being cold – I have had it where it even feels like my hair is raising off my head like there is intense static electricity nearby.
I do this exercise before I get up on race morning so that my ‘ball of energy’ is already there for me to draw on. The nature of energy is that it never dissapears, it just changes form so if you feel like your ball of light is looking a bit dull then all you do is conjure up those memories again, even things which didn’t happen but you know would make you feel good if they did – like maybe being the first to run into the stadium at the Comrades, or helping someone who is battling accross the finish line, or kissing Brad Pitt (oh dear, did I just say that out loud?).
If you use this during the race on Sunday, let me know how it goes – I’d be really interested to see how it works in other people.