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March 23, 2015

Mantras, visualization improve athletic performance

Think your way to better endurance

Health News Sports Medicine
03202015_Runner @runnersworld/Twitter

Psychological techniques, like mantras and visualization, could increase athletic performance.

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.”