Mental performance for half-marathon and marathon race | Norton Sports Health | Norton Healthcare


Hey guys it’s Stephanie Fish, your Norton
Sports Health KDF mini and marathon training program coordinator. I’m here with Vanessa
Shannon who is the director of mental performance at Norton Sports Health and the University
of Louisville Athletic Department and welcome! Thank you! Extremely long title there. We’re
gonna talk about mental performance and the mental preparedness for your upcoming race.
What’s the meaning of mental performance? The easiest way to think about mental performance
is to think about performance like an equation. Performance is equal to potential minus disruption.
Mental performance is really about learning how to minimize those disruptions. If it’s
a disruption within your control, you want to prevent or resist that. If it’s a disruption
outside of your control, you want to learn how to tolerate it. If it’s a disruption that
we allow to disrupt us, that one that we want to learn how to recover from. But it’s ultimately
about minimizing those disruptions so we can maximize our potential. So, comparing the
characteristics between a successful an an unsuccessful athlete, help me out with that.
Sure so when it comes to mental performance, a couple of things or characteristics about
successful athletes- They usually expect the expected, so we’ve heard the phrase expect
the unexpected, thats actually impossible. So we want to expect the expected. We want
to prepare for any scenario. I think when we become unsuccessful is when we sort of
limit our preparation. We think positivity is a great way of being, it is but we also
have to be realistic. So successful athletes usually consider both of those, unsuccessful
athletes may forget to prepare for the tough stuff. The second thing I think would be learning
how to attack the gap. That’s actually a phrase I borrowed from the New Zeland All Blacks
who are considered the most successful team in sporting history. And they go for the gap,
meaning where you are and where your potential is, they’re always trying to get in that gap.
Everyday we train, everyday we prepare, we’re trying to get in the gap and get closer to
our potential. So I talk about attacking the gap, right? Really getting in that gap, finding
a way to get better everyday. When I talk about unsuccessful athletes, unsuccesful atheletes
maybe sometimes set goals too high. The improvements are too big that they’re striving for on a
daily basis. Unsuccessful athletes can be inconsistent in that gap, so somedays they
attack the gap, other days they don’t. Third characteristic I think would be when I call
riding the wave. So I grew up in southern California, so I use the surfing analogy when
it comes to emotional control. We kind of have to be able to expect the expected, know
that things won’t go great, when they don’t go great some of the time we will be able
to ride the wave. So being able to control our emotions and bounce back and kind of manage
the situation. Unsuccessful athletes, differently, tend to struggle in that area. Right? So they
get knocked off the surfboard, they throw their hands up they wanna give up. Successful
athletes love challenges and when they see challenges they kind of confront them and
can ride the wave. And then lastly, there’s this theory behind embracing the suck. So,
how can you embrace the suck and deal with a worst case senario during a race? So, embrace
the suck is kind of a military phrase or mantra that’s been introduced into performance psychology
and it’s a great phrase that is meaningful. I talk with athletes about welcoming discomfort
and so it’s sort of the same ideology. This idea that if you know it’s going to suck you
may as well be prepared for it and ready for it and embrace it. As terms of kind of welcoming
discomfort as a piece of that, if we prepare for discomfort, so we put ourselves through
a grueling training run. When the race becomes gruling were prepared for that, we sort of
know how to be successful in taht moment despite the discomfort. Thank you for being here Dr.
Shannon. My pleasure. Very well put over here given you guys up for race day. I hope you
can use some of those tips coming up for the KDF mini and marathon. Can’t wait to see you
guys for the next training run!

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