Mental Training

January 29, 2012

Coach’s Training Tips – Mental Training.
Imagery. Mental Imagery (sometimes called Mental Practice or Visualization) is a systematic process of using your imagination in order to guide your thinking in a positive way. Specifically, you use you mind like a video playback device to correct technique, see yourself successfully coping within a stressful environment (e.g. competition), as well as visualizing an optimal performance. While visualizing the performance, you can make it seem as though you feel light and effortless, while running a fast, strong, and confident race. Imagery can also be used to re-visit your performance goals and dreams, re-familiarize yourself with the race course, the warm-up area or route you plan to take, your race day routine(s)…etc. Positive thoughts through the use of imagery are important to complement training and racing efforts, and if learned well, imagery can sharpen focus to more quickly pick up on relevant cues, correct faltering technique, motivate, and adjust intensity (to name a few). If you have doubts, think of it this way; clone yourself, and consider one of you performing mental training a few times a week for 20min, while the other you doesn’t perform any mental training. Which one do you believe will be better prepared to make adjustments from stimuli or deal with adverse weather on race day?

We’ll continue a more indepth discussion with techniques in the near future, so stay tuned.

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Shin Splints?

January 29, 2012

Coach’s Tip:  Think you may have Shin Splints?

If you’re a runner who’s experiencing pain at the inside lower leg (shin), you have likely overly stressed, strained, or likely torn some of the facia (connective tissue) around the tibialis anterior muscle that is attached to the tibia (shin bone).  Normally, this condition arises when mileage is increased too quickly, or the overall volume of training is too high and is placing excessive stress for your musculature and connective tissues.  Besides taking time off from running and incorporating RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), some stretching of the tibialis anterior muscle can help (See attached Photo).  Elevate the leg(s) and compress a bag of ice on the injured site with an ACE Bandage or Saran Wrap for 20 minutes 3-4 times a day.  There should be some slight pressure with this compression; however be careful not to make the wrap overly tight – inhibiting circulation to the region.  Rest is the best way to treat shin splints as this gives the shins the full time necessary to heal.  This can be a couple of weeks in mild cases up to 3 months for more severe cases.  If there are no allergies or stomach issues with taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as Motrin, can be taken in 200-400mg doses with food or at least something like a banana. Use only as recommended, but higher doses can be prescribed by a physician.  For more tips and information, contact me through http://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/

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