People involved in physical strength and endurance building have several similarities. One is a deep, deep feeling that “I could have done better” or “I know that I’m not achieving my maximum,” yet despite their strongest endeavors, the signals from their bodies triumph over their minds. It is the weightlifter who fails to finish the set or fails to get up the extra weight. For the runner or the triathlete, it is falling short in times, missing preparation goals, and not enjoying the experience, knowing deep down that she could have done better.
On the other hand, there are those days when the athlete feels as though he can accomplish everything! For the runner, the legs feel like those of a light-footed gazelle floating over the roads, as opposed to the days when those same legs feel like those of a lumbering elephant plodding heavily through mud. You know those days! You feel inspired and exceptionally strong. Why can’t every day be that way? And when you have those days, you sense that it is more than a physical thing, that something in the mind is acting differently. How can you repeat that magic?
The research shows that the Middle Mind (the super-conscious) not only affects the body, but it actually dominates the body. Doubts, habits, instincts, and limitations about physical activities hide there in the Middle Mind, and the keys to dealing with these issues and achieving optimal performance also reside there. Hypnosis used properly within the structure of hypnotherapy is the key to an athlete’s maximizing his or her performance.
I once heard someone say that he would start running when he saw runners smiling. Sometimes, I think runners and triathletes do not enjoy their sport as much as they like simply overcoming or pushing through the pain to say, maybe only to themselves, “I did it.” The act itself does not bring joy. The runner actually dreads each run. He knows that the pain is coming. The runner will “will” her way through it just to check the box. Hypnotherapy offers the tools to dump the dread, to create a positive outlook, and to anticipate every day as one of those exceptional days when the body is moving like a well-oiled machine, the feet feel lighter, and the whole experience is a joy.
Hypnotherapy is by its very nature an encouraging endeavor. It creates in all of its participants a positive outlook, and this is certainly the case for marathoners and triathletes. True, hypnotherapy is not magic. Its benefits do not appear instantly with the casting of a spell. Rather, the athlete should think of it as another form of training, with each exercise producing improved results.
Here is what you can expect in meeting with a therapist. The hypnotherapist will first want to explore your history with your sport. He wants to know your plans and goals. He will discuss your perceived obstacles to maximum success, as well as areas that you find are going well in your training and races. Now, together you and your therapist will develop a plan for your success in the Middle Mind training, right away taking steps to achieving those goals.
Depending upon the particular circumstances, some general goals for the sessions may include relaxation concerning the sport, a positive state of mind, a heightened endurance, a locked-in visualization of superior performance, training in affirming self-communication, and a built-in positive mental attitude toward the training schedule necessary to achieve your goals.
Triathletes face unique challenges due to the diversity of the events in this sport. For instance, a participant may have fears relating to open water swimming, or she may fear a bad spill on a bicycle, both of which could serve to hold performance in check. The hypnotherapist can provide the tools necessary to handle most of the unique issues that these athletes face.
The training is not exclusively at the hypnotherapist’s office. The athlete will have tools and techniques that will accompany him to the practice track, as well as to race day. Athletes using hypnotherapy invariably show improvement. Runners not using hypnotherapy are likely not getting the most out of their potential.