March 23, 2015
Close your eyes. Picture yourself crossing that finish line. Visualize your fastest set of laps in the pool.
"I think I can. I think I can."
Psychological techniques such as mantras, visualization and goal setting can improve athletic endurance and performance, according to a new review by Sports Medicine.
Researchers at the University of Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences conducted a review of published literature to identify practical psychological methods that enhance endurance performance.
An examination of more than 100 sources revealed that techniques such as imagery, self-talk and goal setting, as well as verbal encouragement and head-to-head competition, are beneficial to athletic endurance. It was also determined that mental fatigue undermines endurance performance.
“I think the important thing is that learning to use a psychological strategy can have a beneficial and worthwhile effect on endurance performance,” Alister McCormick, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kent and lead author on the review, wrote in an email to Runner's World Newswire.
“If a recreational runner is interested in improving their performance, it would be worthwhile for them to look into principles of goal setting and self-talk and imagery or visualization strategies.”