I am just about to move into the ‘taper zone’ prior to London marathon in a couple of weeks time. I am actually looking forward to the taper this year because I feel in need of it; I have really pushed myself for the past 16 weeks of my training plan and now need my legs to recover ready for delivering a good performance at London and then Edinburgh marathons.
Before I crack on with my theme today, here is my mileage for the last week:
Week Thirteen (total of 52 miles):
Mon 4M (35 mins) easy
Tue 8M of 1M jog and strides, then 13 x 2 mins up hill, jog back. Then 1M jog at end of session
Wed 8M (65 mins) slow
Thu 1M jog, then 5M (35 mins – 7m/mile) brisk, then 1M jog
Sat 5M (42 mins) easy
Sun 20M slow
I ran my 20 miler a fair bit faster than I was supposed to. Mainly because I had a tiny break/rest in the middle and because I was so excited to be running in a lot of very new places. This was a hilly week…..
In the past week my schedule required me to do a hills session as my Tuesday intervals run. It is a session that all runners will be familiar with, you warm-up, run up a hill for a certain period of time, then jog back down as the recovery interval, before then cooling down. It just so happened that on the week I had that hills session, was also the week whereby I was doing most of my runs straight from home as my car has been in the garage and so I could not drive to my running destination. That meant that I was running up and down a lot more hills in my weekly runs this week – they are hard to avoid when you live so close to the sea front. Then to round it all off, I ran from Bournemouth all the way to Milford-on-Sea in the New Forest as my Sunday run this week.
At the 12 mile mark, I had to catch the ferry from Mudeford Sandbanks to Mudeford Quay (a 3 minute rest), I managed to sneak in a couple of pictures….
From there (the other end, Mudeford Quay, heading out towards Hinton, Barton-on-Sea and then Milford), the coastline is very different to that which I am used to. That is, I had to cross some pebble beaches, some grassy stretches on the cliff-tops, but also run on some very uneven surfaces indeed.
I loved it. The sun shone and it was just a joy to be running in different areas than usual. When my Spring marathons re over, I move onto Ultra marathon training and that is going to involve a lot more trails rather than roads to run on. I can’t wait. I have been swotting up with maps, plotting routes, joining groups and really am looking forward to exploring the countryside and off-road pathways and trails in and around the area here.
Of course, the trails I was running upon at the weekend had some monuments hills. At least they felt monuments at the tail end of a fairly steady paced 20 miler (my final 20 miler before my first marathon). All in all, the last week involved me running up a lots of hills; at least, a lot more than I am used to. Every step of those hills I became a hill running machine.
A good way to build upon or advance what I am sharing here today is to read this article about using mental imagery when running. It is particularly pertinent today as I am using a version of it to show you how I constructed a mental hill running machine.
Prior to starting this session, think about or choose a machine that is going to be used when you are running up hills; maybe an engine of some kind with pistons that fire and pump effortlessly. Then follow these simple stepson learn how to use this kind of mental imagery technique to help you conquer hills when running:
Step One: Firstly, remember to practice this repeatedly over and over in your mind prior to doing it in reality when running.
Then, induce hypnosis.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my ‘Science of self-hypnosis’ book, use the free audio at my main hypnosis website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Step Two: Imagine being out on a run, picture the environment and the scene around you. Notice your breathing rate, hear the sound of your feet upon the ground as you run. Each step that you imagine running, go deeper into hypnosis and become more absorbed and focused on the session.
Start to anticipate a hill, a steep hill, a challenging hill that you will soon be required to run up on this run. Start to imagine it off in the distance as you keep on running. When it is off in the distance, then move on to the next step.
Step Three: Now bring up and into your mind an image of that machine, whatever it may be. Notice all the details of it and observe what tells you that it is performing and functioning so incredibly well. Place that picture in your mind as if you were looking at it on a screen.
These do not have to be perfect cinema screen pictures by the way, just imagine it as best as you can.
As you look at that image, make sure it has motion and so turn it into a film clip of that machine powerfully conducting it’s motion that you want to take on and adopt in some way. Make the machine look invincible and incredibly powerful. Be undeniably convinced that this machine can conquer any hill for any length of time.
Make the imagery incredibly vivid. Add the kinds of sounds that accompany it well too. Whatever sounds make it even more convincing and assure you of it’s power.
As you look at it and listen to it, become aware of feelings of strength in your body. Make the imagery as sensory rich as you can. Use colours and details as much as possible. Let yourself be impressed by the machine, almost be in awe of it, and be excited to be near it.
When you really start to feel that, then move on to the next step.
Step Four: As you look at this image of the machine in your mind, think to yourself, “I just know that is going to work for me,” or “I can be that way too now” and really add some sort of internal dialogue that starts to convince you of your ability to adopt what you need from this. Be convinced that your arms, legs and lungs can be as powerful as this machine you have created. Tell yourself that, convince yourself, then move on to the next step.
Step Five: Finally, you step into that image and merge with it in your mind. Wear it, act like it. When you pretend to be a certain way, you are learning how to be that way at the deeper behavioural level. Mentally rehearse being that way, performing in that way. Like a powerful machine! Let your own physiology merge in a beneficial way with your imagined machine. Really, truly associate with it, feel the feelings of it and get it lodged into your mind. How does that version of you think, how does that version of you hold the body? Then do those things and BE that version of yourself.
Step Six: Now rejoin the run in your imagination that you were engaged with in step two. Run towards the steep hill. Run up it like a machine, imagine pistons pumping, engine parts powerfully and smoothly motoring you up the hill. Hear the roar of your engine, hear the words of encouragement that you give yourself and power up the hill. When you get to the top, feel the triumph, feel the power and know that each time you run up that hill, it becomes easier, your muscles get stronger and you know that you are becoming a hill machine – you consume hills more and more readily.
Prior to concluding, you may want to repeat steps five and six over and over so that the imagery is available to you without too much though when you are running. I thoroughly recommend repeating that part of the process a few times each session.
Then you exit from hypnosis and open your eyes and go about your day.
Then when you have practiced this several times – take step six out with you on your run. When you are running, when you are faced with a hill, you then have that machine pumping tirelessly associated with your physiology, and you run smoothly upwards and onwards.
Enjoy the process of becoming a mental hill running machine.
If this has resonated with you in some way, or interested you, then these links may be of interest:
1. Would you like to take your sports performance to the next level?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others take their sports performance to the next level?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.