Today, I wanted to share a technique that I use at the tail end of my efforts/intervals sessions and throughout a lot of my Sunday long runs.
One of the main challenges a runner faces is our response to our body. In particular when running, we have to cope with our legs aching, feeling heavy and it may result in us wanting to stop, slow down, or even cut our run short.
Feeling heavy-legged is a symptom many runners have to put up with at times, especially if marathon training and during those heavy mileage training weeks. As I stated within my previous blog entry here, I wanted to offer up processes that I have been utilizing during my current marathon training that are forming part of my ongoing research.
This self-hypnosis process is one whereby you are required to practice this process a few times, perhaps once or twice a day for a week before you then start to apply it during your runs. Installing it during self-hypnosis and then practicing it as a cognitive strategy when running is the best way to derive benefit from this process.
The aim is to be able to use your mind and your perception to positively affect how your legs and feet feel when running. Have you ever been performing at your peak and felt like your feet were positively bouncing off the floor when running? Or perhaps you had a pair of shoes that felt like they had a special bounce to them? Well, that sort of bounce is going to be combined with a lightness in the legs for you to use when running.
Do use this in a safe manner. We are usually far more capable than we might feel at the time, and it will be safe to push ourselves further and faster even when feeling heavy-legged. However, ensure that you do all you can to recover properly and ensure you do not do anything that will cause injury.
Here is a simple self-hypnosis session to use and combat heavy legs then. Follow these steps….
Step One: 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. See the sights, hear the sounds, notice your feet upon the floor, notice how you feel to be running. Make it as vivid as possible.
Let every sight, sound, feeling take you deeper and ensure you are more deeply hypnotised. Spend enough time of this step to get into deep hypnosis, get absorbed and focused and then move on to the next step.
Step Three: Start to imagine that you have helium filling each leg when you lift it off the ground, so that they feel an injection of lightness that then fades as you place your leg back to the floor.
As you pick your legs up, they rise almost automatically, they feel lighter and lighter and are drawn upwards with more and more ease. As your leg reaches the height of the raise, the helium dissipates as the leg is placed down again.
When you have really developed a sense of lightness and imagined it being there in your legs, move on to the next step.
Step Four: Imagine that on the soles of your feet, or on the soles of your running shoes, is the bounciest rubber material. It is a material that seems to enhance, advance and exaggerate the lightness that you feel each time your feet hit the ground.
Notice that each time your feet hit the ground, the rubber bounces them back upwards again.
Alternatively, you might imagine big, powerful springs on the soles of your feet that propel your feet upwards as they hit the floor with each step. Or yet another idea is to imagine your feet landing on a trampoline each time they hit the floor, and they bounce upwards with each step. You might imagine having pistons firing. Use whatever you prefer; mini space hoppers attached to your feet, individual pogo sticks on each foot, a trampoline chair if ever you sit down, so that you bounce right back up, do whatever seems the most effective for you and the person you are.
When you have fully imagined, as vividly as possible, that your feet are bouncing as you run, then move on to the next step.
Additional – Use your senses: With the above two steps, use your senses and imagination to advance your experience. For example, you might imagine a colour in your legs that represents the helium sensation. You might imagine a bouncing sound as you feet bounce off the ground, you might recall times when your legs have felt at ease and let that feeling spread into your legs throughout these previous two steps. You may even like to bring it all together, imagine your entire body movement is almost like Tigger bouncing, or like another cartoon character who seems to move with ease (if you have ever played subway surfer – a free iPad app my nephew plays – you might imagine you got some of those shoes that make you jump over trains), or even model a runner or animal that runs in a bouncy, seemingly light way.
Step Five: With each step, just begin to affirm to yourself or repeat a cognition to yourself that enhances the movements, the lightness and the bounciness. For example:
“Lighter legs, lighter legs”
“I have bouncy feet, bouncy feet”
“Running like this is easier and easier”
“This feels more and more comfortable”
“Running is so enjoyable”
As you say the words, invest all your belief in what is happening. That is, believe what you are telling yourself, and believe that your legs truly are feeling lighter, believe that your feet are bouncier, believe that you are more comfortable as you run. Undeniably convince yourself and you’ll notice the effects much more.
Just continue with this step until you reinforce any effects occurring, all the time tell yourself you are deeper hypnotised, more focused and absorbed in the process, then move on to the next step.
Step Six: Exit hypnosis. If you follow the protocol from my books or teaching, count yourself up and out from one through to five. Otherwise, wiggle your fingers and toes, take a few deeper breaths and open your eyes to bring the session to an end as you reorient yourself to your surroundings.
As I said earlier, you can now practice this in depth during self-hypnosis once or ideally twice daily for at least a week. Do continue practicing it in hypnosis for several weeks, but after the first week of practicing and installing it, use it when out running – engage in the imagery, the cognitions and invest the belief so that you bounce along with light feet during your runs. It’ll make some runs a LOT of fun too.
I am away for a week now, but I’ll be back with a great process for how to get rid of stitch or digestion issues when you are running.
Happy bouncing runners!