Athlete psychology – My way

Today I had the pleasure to meet Camilla Lindholm and hear her talk about effects of Athlete Psychology and how to train our mind.
Camilla Lindholm, if you don’t know, is a PRO in long distance Triathlons. She constantly achieves top results and podium places.
She is also a member of the team I’m in (Heleneholms Tri Team).
On todays schedule with us she talked about the importance of mind. How two athletes of the same build/strength etc can differ in their results in a race.
As always, this is a fuzzy grey area. The mind is not something you can measure. Not something you can grab and say “yeah, I thought about the sun and clear skies and it made me 5% faster”.
But there is science proving how the mind can effect your body. For instance placebo effect. You think you are getting medications but in reality only eat sugar pills. But the body responds as if you were given real medications.
Since the mind is so powerful we need to constantly work with it. Give it feedback. Reinforce its strength!
The meeting was almost 2 hours and we discussed everything from everyday life to racing specific events. A lot that was discussed was very valuable and Camilla was very pedagogical.
She had many tools to create a positive flow of thoughts during hard moments which she shared.
From my own point of view I have worked with my psyche everyday since I started training. I knew 1 year ago that doing an Ironman will not be easy on the body, but coping with 12 hours (maybe more!) of pressure will be mindblowing.
What I did from day 1 was setting up mantras. Keywords that eased me or made me think other thoughts. Some mantras were fast and few worded, like “high knees, fast legs”. While other mantras were me singing my favorite soccer team (Malmö FF) cheers.
I also created a placket on my door to make me remember some positive things I’ve been told from coaches or things that just feels good to know going out.
Motivational placket
Motivational placket
Another thing I had done before I started training, but now do more with an athlete goal oriented thing. Every evening before I go to sleep:
  • I think about what I’ve trained during the day.
  • What could I’ve done better?
  • What will happen tomorrow.
  • Is there situations I might find myself in that need preparations?
I.e running workout that was completed this day and tomorrow is an openwater swimming session:
  • Did I improve my times/heartbeats/cadence since last similar session?
  • My posture was off and I need to work on it next workout.
  • I will go to the beach and put on my wetsuit and smile because it’s fun to swim. I will tell everyone it’s finally “insert weekday” and time to swim!
  • What happens if I’m swimming behind someone and he accidentally kicks me in my face. Visualize it and be prepared so I don’t panic.
One thing that stood out from one of Camillas tools was something I’ve used myself almost my entire life as a grownup.
When something bad happens I assess what happened. I then decide, is this something I can change, influence or affect in some way?
If the answer is YES, then I do something about if. I create a plan and execute it.
If the answer is NO. I do not give it a second thought and move on. Note: My girlfriend thinks I have a heart of stone because of this :).
Plainly, no excuses. Either do something about it or live and accept/embrace it.
No excuses
No excuses
Something I also use is visual aids to trigger certain thoughts.
For instance, one day I was out doing a run. I was not paying attention to anything and was running aimlessly.
Suddenly I met my teams bike-coach (and she’s also a running coach) coming in my direction. I immediately raised my stance, posture and looked alive shouting  “hey” her way.
This is the feeling I want when things go bad or when I’m tired. So I put a text on my bike fluid suspender: Katarina sees you.
Whenever I look down to take a sip, this is what I see and my thoughts go to check my posture etc.
Katarina sees you!
Katarina sees you!
These are some of my tools I use to be prepared of what’s in store in the future, both everyday life but also for certain events like an ironman.
You can check out Camilla Lindholms website HERE and maybe catch her at an event as it was really cool to hear whats going on in her head.

One thought on “Athlete psychology – My way

  • 2014-05-22 at 21:24

    BOOM, håller helt med i allt! Även om jag har lite för många “excuses” ibland 😉


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