I cursed myself.
I wrote last week and told the world how great my training was going. I got man-flu and a gastric bug the next day and have only run once since. However, I hope to be back on the road tomorrow, am using my jokers left, right and centre at Jantastic, and therefore have no weekly mileage log to share this week. Instead I have a strategy to share that i have been using a great deal recently, let me explain….
I am one of those people who is easily swept along by running fads and promises made in running gear marketing materials. I have to get a grip sometimes. Anything that promises me I’ll run faster or recover quicker tends to make me want to spend my money, though I am usually brought back down to earth with a sobering bump and realise that the basics often give us all that we need.
Compression gear is something I use. I do not run in compression gear as many runners do, but I do use it for aiding my recovery. In particular I use calf sleeves. Some of the evidence for using compression gear for advanced performance does make for quite damning reading, but the evidence for enhancing recovery is a brighter read in general terms. I have read a great many contrasting perspectives on this, and I have looked at a lot of research regarding the benefits – the research results are mixed and still not wholly conclusive if you cast a scrutinising eye upon them.
I am not going to discuss or debate the evidence here as you can find that date and the varying stances and the evidence out there online for yourselves at websites that know much more about the physiological science of running than I do.
Many experts suggest that the effects of compression garments are placebo effect, but heck, whether it is placebo or not, if we can derive some benefit all the better as far as I am concerned. The face that placebo effect can deliver such an aid to recovery is actually encouraging for me, because it again shows the influence and effect of our psychology and our beliefs when it comes to recovering faster.
Many runners do trust compression garments and many derive great gain from them. If you read what I have written here before about idea-motor responses, for example, it makes absolute sense to use self-hypnosis to create a psychological compression garment to aid recovery. The field of hypnotherapy has a variety of similar interventions currently; a hypnotic gastric band for reducing weight, a psychological control room for turning emotions and sensations up or down, and other processes that require an investment of belief, a vivid imagination and hypnosis to create seemingly amazing effects. Compression is no different.
Simply follow these simple steps to use your mind and self-hypnosis for aided recovery:
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 that your lower leg is being massaged by a professional expert. Enjoy it and let it relax you and get you settled. Imagine good, firm, relaxing sweeping movements along the length of the lower legs.
Just enjoy it for a while. Let every thought, feeling, sight, sound serve to take you deeper into hypnosis. Imagine the setting, relax and go deeper into the experience. if you need a visual aid to help you imagine your calves, here you go….
Step Three: Imagine a safe, healthy firm grip around your ankle. Imagine that it is tight and moves all the way up and along the leg to the knee. There is a tighter grip around the ankle that gradually gets looser as it moves up the leg, ending when it arrives at the knee.
As you imagine that safe, healthy, firm grip along the lower leg, then imagine it being held in place by a compression sleeve. In your mind, tighten this hypnotic calf sleeve and secure it around the calf in the most optimum way and let your mind maintain that pressure and grip. Let it be tighter at the ankle, and getting looser, but remaining healthily firm all the way along the calf muscle.
When you are vividly imagining the calf sleeve in place to the point where you can get a sense of it being worn and in place, then move on to the next step.
Step Four: Now believe and trust that your body responds to the hypnotic calf sleeve in the same way it responds to an actual compression calf sleeve that has been especially made for you with the perfect level of tightness. Imagine the response improves and grows with each breath that you breathe and with each beat of your heart.
Imagine that the blood circulation in your lower leg is speeding up, not just to any level, but to a level that promotes optimum well-being and recovery. Imagine waste products in your legs being transported away more and more effectively by the blood and systems of the body. Imagine lactic products being transported and the area becoming healthier, and feeling lighter and more comfortable.
Take some time and do this step really thoroughly. Invest your belief in it, trust it is happening and believe in the effect in order to make it more pronounced and impressive. You might aid the process further by imagining a colour of healthiness beginning to grown and dominate, or imagine good feelings of comfort are spreading into the leg accompanied by healthy sounds. Use your imagination in the best way possible for you.
When you have set the calf sleeves in place and are convinced they are functioning effectively, then move on to the next step.
Step Five: Just relax and enjoy the health benefits of the calf sleeves for a while. While you relax start to repeat a healthy affirmation to yourself while focusing on that localised part of your lower leg:
“My legs are feeling healthier and healthier.”
“I am recovering faster and faster.”
“My calves are healing better and better.”
Say it in a way that you find to be undeniably convincing. That is, say it like you really mean it and believe in the words. Really believe in the words as you repeat them to yourself. Once you feel that you have really invested your belief and associated the words with the idea in your mind, then move on to the next step.
Step Six: Imagine that you have less and less soreness, and that your legs are more and more comfortable following hard training runs and events. Imagine seeing yourself getting out of bed, with comfortable, healthy calves.
Just mentally rehearse and imagine yourself being comfortable, at ease and with healthy, flexible calves. Then once you have imagined that as vividly as possible, move on to the next step.
Step Seven: Tell yourself that when this self-hypnosis session has come to an end, the compression sleeves continue to be effective for 4 hours thereafter.
Then, if you follow the self-hypnosis protocol in my own books, then count yourself out of self-hypnosis by counting from 1 through to 5, however, you can simply take some deeper breaths, wiggle your toes and fingers and open yore’s while slowly reorienting yourself.
This particular guide just ran through the process for the calf area. However, you can then use it and replicate it for any other area that you would like to benefit from the compression recovery. Practice and practice using them, and you’ll find the results will develop with time.
Enjoy this process and I’ll be back very soon.
Ps. If you need more convincing and/or explanation about the ideo-motor response, then have a read of this article, it may help.