Findings the stillness


By Myrna P. Hoover

We are what we think. We have all heard that what we think influences how we behave. The framework from which we view the world sets a tone for how we live. We either face the day with anticipation or dread. We view our cup as half full or half empty. We see people as inherently good or evil.

The view we take of our running certainly affects how we perform. The thoughts we think, both positive and negative, during and before a race color the outcome. The power of the mind is half the race. Tim Simpkins was known for saying, “Your mind gives up before your body does.” Racers who had the privilege to compete against Tim will tell you that his mental attitude made him a fierce competitor. He didn’t let his mind give up. Studies seem to support this idea. Positive thinking improves race performance. Yet, how do we condition ourselves to hear the positive?

Indira Ghandi suggests we “learn to be still in the midst of activity, and learn to be vibrantly alive in repose.” In the quiet of our pre-racing moments, our minds should be active. We should visualize the race – feed our thoughts with positive comments, envision the desired outcome. Set the goal, think about it, mentally run the race – engraving a path to follow. Engage in mental activity while in physical repose, prepare our minds for the activity to come, perform a mental rehearsal, increasing mental toughness for the journey yet to be run. Anticipate a good race. Believe in a good race. Plan a good race. Expect the best. Master our thoughts. Be alive.

Then, when the race arrives seek stillness. Find the calm in knowing that we have trained for the race, trained for the day. Prepared for this journey. We are doing what is natural. Movement, running is innate to our life. Our body knows how to move. Freeing our mind to let our body do this most wonderful thing – will allow it to perform. If we let our body be led by our mental attitude and the spiritual connection between the two won’t they perform as one? Certainly, our body won’t do more than we are physically capable of doing, but it will do better if “we” and our thoughts don’t get in the way. Breathe deeply. Relax. Stay calm. Let our body lead. Trust our instincts. Erase all but this moment. Be in the moment. Find an inner focus. Seek stillness.

As we approach the New Year, setting goals and resolutions for our life and for our running is certainly in our thoughts. This year my running goal is to try to find the stillness during my racing. To calm the thoughts that set up obstacles in my race. To stop seeing what I am afraid will happen and instead believe in the things I want to happen. Maybe the stillness will let me find the finish line a little faster. And, even if it doesn’t, the connection I may find in letting my body be in charge and my mind be still should undoubtedly be worth the effort.

I’ll meet you at the finish….