If you're in a bad mood at the start of a workout, or if you're dreading what's to come, you're more likely to have a miserable experience. But if you remember your best days at the gym, or your favourite finish-line moments, you can use those to set the scene when you begin. Photo by Stefan.
It's the same idea behind visualising how you want your day to go. But it's not just a daydream: You know you can make this great workout happen, because you've had great workouts before. I use this technique all the time, especially for running situations that seem difficult.
For example, when I start up the monster hill on my favourite trail, I think back to the hill at kilometre 17 at the Pittsburgh half-marathon, when I was tired but still managed to pass a few people by pacing myself, just chugging up the hill slow and steady.
Or when I head out into winter weather, I remember a long run I did with friends on a snowy day, and it was beautiful and quiet and the snowflakes were the size of quarters and there was nowhere else I would rather be.
And for just about any run, I like to remember the fastest 5K I ever ran. I got off to a rough start, feeling really tired because I hadn't warmed up. But the third kilometre was partly downhill, and the last kilometre was flat, and I knew the route well enough that I could pace myself perfectly. I was going fast and felt like I was flying.
We should all have a highlight reel of great experiences to draw from, mental consultant Adrienne Langelier told Triathlete. Read more about this idea at the link below.