Let’s face it: there is no greater sight during a race than the finish line. We love running, the thrill of pounding the pavement is second to none, but that finish line is what it’s all about.
As I reach the halfway point of my training and find myself fighting burnout and negative thoughts, I’ve been trying out some positive visualization techniques and while I usually roll my eyes at the Stuart Smalley school of thought, this approach is actually pretty helpful!
When I start to get down on myself – usually in the final mile or so of a training run – what I do is I envision myself crossing that marathon finish line. It’s easy to do – I’ve run this race before (well, the half), and so I know exactly what the finish line looks like! But unfortunately the last time I crossed that finish line, I was in bad shape. So crossing that line happy is a big deal for me.
Aside from the serious physical pain I was experiencing from my freshly-torn ACL that I earned at mile 12, I was also majorly humiliated. I don’t mention this very often, but I actually crossed the finish line for my half approximately 10 seconds after the female marathon winner. As I hobbled to the line I heard sirens and screams of pure joy and thought “I can’t be the last person, can I?” Then I looked over my shoulder and there she was, motoring past me and through the tape to a huge cheer from the audience. I was emotional to begin with, but this put me over the edge. I started to cry – in happiness, embarrassment, relief, pain, all of it – but I still crossed the finish line with a smile and promptly vowed to never ever run another race again in my life.
So now, when I envision myself crossing that line again, I am strong. Sure I’m exhausted and drained and I’m probably wishing for the sweet relief of death. BUT – in my positive, motivational finish line vision, I am strong. Both knees are intact, I’m smiling, and I’m certainly not being clothes-lined by some jackass like this poor soul:
And that positive image has helped me push through some pretty tough stuff. I will trust my training and make every one of the next 58 days (HOLY CRAP) count, so that I can turn my vision into reality come October 19th.
How about you? Do you have any positive visualization techniques, or other things you do to get you through the really tough times? Share your story, because I need all the positivity I can get!