Working with Dr. Asp (sports psychologist) and Dr. Jim (Chiropractor, also the most worldly thinker and greatest listener I know) has helped me TREMENDOUSLY to step up to the plate at big races. I've done a lot of work with both leading up to Grandma's in '11 and the '12 Trials (where I PR'd on just 3-4 weeks of good running after an awful Achilles injury - this still amazes me), both of which are my two greatest races to date. I also worked with them for NYC '12, which I think could have been a stand out race for me, but we'll never know :)
Dr. Asp's email: email@example.com
Dr. Patterson's phone: 651-388-7511. Website here. He has kept me healthy for nearly 3 years, which is unheard of. A miracle worker, no doubt :)
Anyway, for those that have followed for a while know that I was so doubtful of Dr. Asp's ability to help. I visualize, and have since I was a 7th grader. I know my strengths and weaknesses. Plus, I'm not a basket case (well.... ) - do I really need a sports psychologist?!? But since a lot was on the line, and I know I need to do all of the little things better than most (I am not a Kara Goucher or Shalane!), I figured it couldn't hurt. Especially when there's something as cut and dry as a standard on the line, it's easy to get caught up in expectations, doubts, and simply visualizing crossing the line in a sub-OTQ time. Think: It's either 2:42:59 and it's your most amazing race ever, or it's 2:43:01, which is still a big PR, but a huge disappointment standard-wise). 2 seconds. Dang. Pressure.
|Dr. Asp working with the Red Wing HS team|
Do you often spend time picturing a finish time when you're visualizing? Or spend your visualizing hours picturing yourself moving through the race, what you'll do when X or Y happens?
I've learned now that I should focus on NONE of that - finish time, standards, expectations, the race itself. It just doesn't help when you get to the tough miles at the end of a marathon.
Yeah, that's right - I don't spend much time at all picturing the clock as I'm finishing, or crossing the 20M mark and doing the math to find out I'm right on/a little behind/a little ahead. It's not about the outcome. It's about full effort, pain management, and an almost hypnotic-type of positive coping to change any negative or unexpected situation into something positive that fuels you. It's about the process.
Honestly, with both of Dr. Asp and Dr. Jim's help, I have been able to put the pain of a marathon completely in the background. Don't believe me? Please comment below (I LOVE comments!) to ask questions or be connected to either professional. Promise, you'll be convinced.
I have my first Chicago session with Dr. Asp tomorrow so will be formally preparing tonight. What does this mean?
I'll review my mental state through this training block for Chicago - what are things that have gone well? Things that haven't? Positive throughts?
I'll explore barriers or possible disruptions that have happened (um, ER visit and stomach flu? And the following 3 weeks of training that were sub-par), and what might happen between now and the race - and how to cope with that.
I'll listen to previous CDs (from Dr. Asp) to pick out things that worked particularly well. The NYC one we made last year was SO powerful, so I think I'll start there. This might mean an evening of a lot of Dr. Asp's voice... :)
I'll think through images (also search online), memories, and think through my perceptions of Chicago Marathon. What visual cues can I use between now and the race, and what can I use during the race? Visuals are really powerful for me.
Secure or add to the list of positive reassuring coping thoughts. Here's the post about Mantras from a while back.
So -- with all of that -- I'd love to get your thoughts to help add to what I find. Is there anything really powerful you've used in the past? Visuals? Mantras? Other mental strategies?