Thursday, January 31, 2013
Athlete parallels, part 3 of 5
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown… 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
This is often overlooked and/or neglected in sports. Meditating, visualizing, and training of the mind are a huge resource to those who have put in the effort to do so.
When I prepare for a triathlon (a race comprised of a swim, then bike, then run) the transitions between each portion can be where you win or lose the race. Not only do I physically practice the transition, but I will practice mental reps as well, to walk my mind through the process:
Ok, as you run from the pool to your bike, take off the goggles. Sit down at back of the bike, grab the small towel to dry your feet only (this makes it easier to put on socks/shoes, the rest of you can air-dry). Socks/shoes are next, put on shirt with race number on front (pay attention, it easily gets stuck on a wet back). Grab helmet, BUCKLE IT, now put on sunglasses, lift bike off rack. The exit is to your right, run the bike out to the mounting area and climb on.
It all seems rather straight-forward, but when you are actually performing this transition during the race, you are very disoriented as you hustle out of the pool. Going out of order will actually cost you time in the race. That moment is not the time to decide how you are going to get it done. Mental reps prepare you for this ahead of time.
When running a half marathon (13.1 miles) or a marathon (26.2 miles), you spend a lot of time in your own mind. Hours of time. How you mentally spend those hours can help you or hurt you during the race. Knowing that you need a pick-me-up at the halfway point and singing the beat of a certain song will help you keep pace later in the race, when you feel mentally and physically tired. Praying for one person per mile can help you keep focus. Preplanning when you will take water, Gatorade, or some nutrition puts you at ease so you don’t have to figure it out and guess on the fly.
Mental prep in the spiritual realm is also overlooked. Spiritual training of the mind primarily involves what I put in front of my eyes and where I let my mind linger. Not just removal of “bad” things, but keeping the goal in sight, choosing good things to think on.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
What are you thinking about when you’re on an elevator, at a stoplight, or washing your hands? These are life’s transition areas. Take the opportunity to think of something good.
Lack of mental prep for the Christian means that I am not ready for difficulties because I am not anticipating them. I have no Plan B, C, or D for contingencies.
How do you plan to handle a disrespectful teacher, or a boss who plays favorites?
What if a long time friend/co-worker propositions you?
We must identify our struggles and decide now how to deal with them…because the heat of the moment will not give us enough time to make the right choice.