Thursday, August 4, 2011

Training Your Brain

This is a guest post from Renegade Triathlon Psychology coach Stephen Ladd (pictured right), who has taken a somewhat unorthodox path to becoming one of most sought after gurus in the world when it comes to training your brain for peak performance. His formal education in the States included undergraduate studies in psychology, religion, and philosophy, and Graduate studies in Comparative Religions. He then ventured outside of the US to experience the cultures and mind practices of Southeast Asia and Japan. In addition to this guest post and article below, Stephen will be featured on next week’ podcast episode.

The concepts you are about to learn can be applied to marathoning, ultra-running, cycling, or any endurance sport, but we are going to use the example of triathlon for today.

I consider a triathlon (of any distance) to be the “toughest sport on earth”. The amount of time and effort required to train for three separate sports is unparalleled in the world of athletics.

But what is often overlooked are the extreme mental and emotional demands of triathlon training and racing.

For a triathlete to consistently perform at peak performance levels, they must have the ability to control their mental and emotional states, especially prior to and during the actual race. Imagine being able to instantly evoke a supreme state of “confidence” in yourself instead of having pre-race anxiety, or evoke a state of “determination and focus” when you start to feel fatigued and have another six miles to the finish.

It is important to understand the difference between what is labeled these days as “Positive Thinking” and what I am talking about when I refer to controlling your mental and emotional states. The “Positive Thinking” protocol (at least how it’s commonly taught) is to simply ignore how you feel (anxiety) and tell yourself, over and over again, that you feel confident, or happy, or focused or whatever it is you’re desperately trying to convince yourself that you are.

On the other hand, accurately and properly controlling your mental and emotional state is a way for you to literallychange your subconcious mind, so that you’ll actually be confident, instead of just telling yourself that you are confident. See the difference? When you do what I am about to teach you properly, there will be no need for you to try to convince yourself that you are confident – instead, you will actually be in a supreme state of confidence and able to perform closer to your peak potential.

One valuable tool for achieving this true change in your mental and emotional state is called “Anchoring”, which comes from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programing (NLP).

Continued on Endurance Planet