Composure.

by Amy Anderson

Maybe you’ve heard the quote, “Running is 90 percent mental, and the rest is all in your head”.  The best athletes don’t only train hard physically, they also work on the psychological aspects of their sport. Here is Part 2 in a series of traits and characteristics of successful marathoners.

COMPOSURE.  Just as confidence won’t guarantee your success, neither will composure.  But it does create an environment that fosters your success.  What does it mean to be composed? Here are 4 things to think about:

1.     When you are composed, you have emotional control and stability.  On the flip side, poor management of your emotions disrupts your performance.  Stress, anxiety and high levels of emotion negatively affect both your decision-making ability and also your motor skills. Being composed puts you in charge of your race.
2.     In training, use the night before and morning of your long runs to establish routines that will act as calming rituals in unfamiliar places and situations. You might also consider a copy of favorite photograph, an inspirational quote, or peaceful (not blaring!) music.
3.     Just before and in the early miles of your marathon, lay low. As a broad generalization, your level of animation (it’s called “arousal” in sports psychology, but you’d snicker if I said that) should be inversely proportional to the length of your race.  For short races, you want to be warmed up, fired up, and ready to hit it hard.  But with 26.2 miles in front of you, you want to be calm, cool and collected. In other words, composed.
4.     If you are composed during your marathon, then you are less distracted by forces outside of your control. You can recognize and pay attention to your performance cues.  Are your face, shoulders and hands relaxed? Is your foot-strike light?  How’s your stride rate? Is it time to take a gel? Being composed allows you to relax and let your training and experience work for you.

So.  How composed are you?  What can Rogue do to help?

Amy coaches marathoners at Rogue Downtown. You can join her this fall in preparation for the 2013 Austin Marathon.

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One thought on “Composure.

  1. Pingback: Old Dog, New Tricks? Absolutely! | The Rundown

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