Running for Success
Though it may not seem like it when we're drenched in sweat
and our legs feel like lead, marathon running is as mental
as physical. When we're exhausted, continuing consists of
mind over matter. This takes enormous mental power. Once developed,
this skill can be transferred from the racetrack to the boardroom.
Training for a marathon is an ideal place to improve the skills
needed to achieve success in business: strategy, clear objectives,
and a positive attitude. These techniques are also crucial
to completing a marathon. Without them, even the most fanatically
fit athlete is doomed to fail. Through physical training we
can develop and master these skills.
In business, investment and marathon, a well-planned strategy
is essential. In each situation, we must commit to our plan,
yet be willing to adapt it if it isn't working. Though strategy
can be complex or simple, with our first marathon it's best
to choose the latter. Simplification is a great way to remove
self-imposed pressure. This can mean concentrating on maintaining
a steady heart rate or pace. We need to do this during both
training and our marathon, since sustaining this relaxed-focus
helps remove the barrier of performance anxiety.
The strategy of shifting attention to our body's sensations
is called association, and it's a tactic used by many elite
athletes. The self-focused introvert may find this more comfortable
than directing attention outside. The outgoing extrovert,
however, may be more suited to the disassociation technique.
This involves turning our awareness outward. According to
a report published in The Journal of Sports Psychology: "
Considerable evidence exists to link disassociation strategies
with increased pain tolerance during endurance tasks." Disassociation
may also useful during a dull seminar, or an extended visit
from our mother-in-law.
Just as business meetings have objectives, so should your
marathon training. Whatever your personal goal, it needs to
be specific, measurable, and reasonable. Similar to our professional
life, these can be accomplished by choosing to focus on either
the process or the outcome. In our business life a process
goal would be improving our customer relation skills, while
an outcome goal would be making X amount more dollars. For
your first marathon, process goals are better. Since meeting
them may be as simple as adhering to our training schedule,
they guarantee success. As we all know, success produces self-confidence.
Developing this gives us courage to challenge ourselves to
achieve greater victories. Outcome goals, like beating a rival,
are more risky. Since external factors can interfere with
them, they are harder to succeed at.
Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to accomplishment.
Without belief in eventual success, we'll quit at the slightest
obstacle. This is true both in career and running. Everyday,
marathon training teaches us persistence through discomfort.
This is essential. Without challenging ourselves we can never
progress to higher success. Besides the things we tell ourselves,
a positive attitude also includes motivating inner images.
Many superior athletes use mental imagery, or guided visualization.
These include Marion Clignet, 1996 and 2000 silver medallist
on the French cycling team, and 6 times Masters winner Jack
Nicklaus. Medical experts have also tested this method. A
recent article published in the Journal of Sports Science
states: "The power of mental imagery in sport performance
has been widely noted. Keep your thinking and mental rehearsing
of your upcoming races positive and it may contribute to new
The importance of mental imagery is also noted in Olympic
runner Jeff Galloway's Marathon: You Can Do It. In this book,
Galloway encourages us to rehearse parts of our marathon every
day. He says that this will help us prepare for and find solutions
to problems we may encounter and help us "tough it out." This
strength doesn't end in out legs and lungs. Finishing a marathon
makes us more tenacious, helping us bring home "the gold"
Galina Pembroke is an internationally published writer.
She is also the publisher and editor of New View Magazine
online. New View gives you unique articles on health, self-help,
animal rights, spirituality and more.
Visit her website at http://www.nuvunow.ca.
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