There is a strong connection between mind and body. Two sports that are very different physically offer an excellent example of this point.
Golf is not a physically demanding sport, relatively speaking, but requires excellent technique, acute focus and a strong mind. A successful golfer visualizes every shot before hitting it. In their mind, they see themselves hitting the shot correctly and they see the desired result of a well hit ball.
Bicycle racing on the other hand is a very physically demanding sport. What is more, there is not time during a race to engage in such visualization. Successful racers however, will play the entire race out in their minds prior to the race. This visualization will encompass riding over as much of the course as they’re familiar with, but most importantly, they will see themselves making the winning move and crossing the finish line first. It has been said that in elite bicycle racing, 80 percent of the competitors are at roughly the same strength and fitness level and that the winner in most cases, is the one who was convinced/certain at the start that he or she would win.
In both cases, not only visualization of performance, but visualization of the results (success) is critical. How do you apply this to your training? Practice visualization daily in a quiet setting. Ideally, it should be performed when you first get up in the morning or right before your training session or both. See yourself going through your training with high energy and motivation. See yourself improving on your last session and most importantly, see yourself as though you’ve accomplished your goals…see the finished product! It takes practice but in time, you’ll find visualization and meditation to be valuable in just about every aspect of life.
Be patient. Patience is a virtue. Rome wasn’t built in a day but if you start slow and have a little determination, soon you will be in the best shape of your life and you will feel so good about yourself that any goal will be possible.
For more information, two excellent reads on mental training and visualization for athletes are:
Creative Visualization For Beginners
Body, Mind, and Sport: The Mind-Body Guide to Lifelong Health, Fitness, and Your Personal Best
To repeat, there is a strong connection between mind and body!