When I’m out on a long run, and there are plenty of them these days, (I seem to have a Marathon+ distance every second weekend and a Half Marathon on my rest weekend), I tend to use a visualisation technique. I’m lucky that I am a very visual person and tend to think in pictures rather than words.
So whilst you might hear about athletes visualising the finish, or visualising their bodies cutting through the air. I have a slightly different visualisation.
Imagine that I’m sitting back in a comfy armchair, slightly reclined, feet up and a good scotch and dry in my right hand. It has to be in my right hand as I’m left handed and operate all the controls with my left. (If you’re right handed then simply swap)
Also imagine that in front of this arm chair are three big TV screens and a couple of monitors. A bit like mission control in NASA if you wish.
On each of the screens, then come different information about my body, conditions, surroundings etc. One screen is obviously given over to the view around me, but the others have information on legs, food, temperature, pain sensors, breathing etc, etc. And while I’m running I’m laying back relaxed, but at the same time scanning all of the sensors to make sure everything is ok.
Then when things start to go wrong, (for example if the heat monitor starts to go off the scale), I start to analyse all of the other sensors (yes I am an engineer by trade) and try to figure out what is going wrong and how to fix the problem. With heat, normally some hydration fixes it.
Sometimes the warning light are just amber lights, letting me know something is wrong and that I need to monitor a problem.
The real fun begins when the klaxon and alarms start going off in my head. i.e. Muscle pain, foot pain or injury. Then I have to make the decision as to whether to do something about the alarm (injury) or just to shut the noise off and keep going (normal endurance related pain).
Then, occasionally (as happened last week), I get the problem of actually having to deal with the staff that run the other departments within my body. For example I have this really difficult Scotsman (think Scottie from Star-trek) who runs my engine room, aka my stomach. I really needed more energy on my run and was screaming down at him to give me everything he had. I really can’t repeat most of the conversation as this is a family friendly blog, but it finished with him threatening to come up through my throat and throttle my brain. In fact the abuse got so bad that I had to shut the trapdoor that leads from my control room to my engine room and bolt it shut to make sure I didn’t get assaulted.
And they say I need the men in white coats.
Ha, what little do they know!