Many people practice hypnosis for running mindfully as a way to improve performance. Other runners are not aware they’re even doing it. Ask any runner how they feel about running competitively or training long distances, and you’ll notice a pattern with their answers with phrases like:
- being in a trance-like state
- rhythmical deep breathing
- increase receptivity to internal events
- unique vivid imagery of their surroundings
Many of these describe what it feels like to be under hypnosis.
If you’re a runner, you know that running involves both physical and mental challenges, so training your brain while you train your body for a race is only beneficial to your running performance as a whole.
Hypnosis for Running Training
So how can hypnosis make you run faster, exactly? Can you be hypnotized to have more energy?
Hypnosis isn’t a single magic trick that turns you into Usain Bolt with just one hypnotherapy session or several self-hypnosis practices. Instead, running training through hypnosis consists of two or more techniques depending on what your body, mind, or spiritual needs.
In sports such as running, a runner could focus on one or all of the following:
In hypnotherapy, visualization is a term that refers to purposefully building visual mental imagery with the goal of modifying your associated emotions. Seeing and feeling yourself run a marathon and reach the finish line (without actually moving) is a good example of visualization.
This hypnosis training tool is also called mental imagery or rehearsal. When visualizing, the runner’s brain is directing his/her targeted muscles to work in a particular way. Continuously doing this creates a neural pattern in their brain, which will be identical to the actual physical performance of the movement you’re focusing on.
Athletes may look like the most confident people in the world, but this could suddenly change if they experience something traumatic physically (like an injury), mentally (losing the last marathon), or emotionally (like grieving the loss of a loved one) related to his/her sport. When this happens, the trauma they are facing becomes entwined with running and negatively affects their performance.
In hypnotherapy, confidence-building is a general term that describes the belief that you can be successful in performing the desired behavior. This behavior can vary from zoning out your thoughts while you run, recovering from a knee injury, or reaching the end of a marathon without losing your breath. Becoming confident again (to do the desired behavior) requires a continuous effort that self-hypnosis can help.
Sometimes, a runner loses motivation to the sports he/she has been passionate about for the longest time. It could happen overnight or gradually, and sometimes there isn’t really a reason why they aren’t motivated to train to run (or win) anymore.
If you want to get back your motivation for running, consistent imagery via hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis could work. The trick here is to visualize yourself breaking the finish line first. If you spend time re-imagining this exact scenario every day, you’ll feel as if you’ve already done it, and the experience would feel familiar on the day of the race.
Your mind would have greater confidence in tackling this particular task, and you regain your self-confidence in the sport.
Like motivation, a runner’s anxiety levels could make or break his/her goals, whether it is reaching a certain distance or winning a spot on the top 3. If you wish to zone out self-doubt, fear of losing, and your anxiety, you have to go deeper into your subconscious mind to remove this negative emotional state.
Anxiety can be debilitating no matter your sports (click here for more on sports hypnotism). Managing anxiety can push a person to train with focus. How can you do this? You need to develop a routine and use music, relaxation techniques, and self-talk to achieve mindfulness and turn the negatives into positive thinking.
In hypnotherapy, professionals can help you visualize your past best and worst running performance, then use these imageries to appropriate the right amount of enthusiasm for each event, so if the race day arrives, you are well prepared to handle your anxiety.
A runner’s focused mind and body will be able to literally go the distance. A person who lacks focus may feel like this due to anxiety or negative self-talk, the huge crowd at the event, or even emotion (fear, jealousy, annoyance, or other negative feelings) towards his/her competition.
It may be tricky at first, but to increase concentration and eliminate distraction, your knowledge about the types of focus must change.
The types of focus such as:
- broad external (things you can’t control like weather, wind, or road conditions),
- broad internal (your overall mindset),
- narrow external (focusing on the movements of the person in front of you),
- narrow internal (how your legs feel when they’re getting tired and how to reduce stress)
These are all valid ways to concentrate, which a person could alternate and use based on the type of situation you have. Their common technique is imagery, or associate a particular image with situations you commonly face during your run.
Whether you run individually or as part of a team, having a competitive mindset in the running is always a good thing. But some people were not born with natural competitiveness – they had to train themselves with self-talk, imagery, or self-hypnosis, which eventually helped them run with a positive yet competitive mindset.
Choosing Your Hypnosis Audio
If you are having difficulties running the course and you want to be free from distractions, negativity, anxiety, and other deeper issues that your mind can’t control, listening to self-hypnosis audio may give you a step closer to clearing your mind (see best self-hypnosis audios review).
So how do you choose hypnosis audio for running?
Picking out the audio is probably the hardest thing you’d have to face because each person has his/her own demons, way of learning, effective method of motivation, and so on. Getting back on the zone is the common goal, but which course you decide to go on would vary between runners.
Runners with a team to support them can easily create a playlist or suggest ideas for listening.
The good news is as long as you would like to achieve a technique to help with your running, you won’t run out of hypnosis audio for running. There are free audio on YouTube if you want to try them out first, then if you’re ready to invest in paid podcasts, downloadable audio, and other content from pro hypnotherapists, then prepare to turn your effort turn into life achievements.
Tips to Improve Running Performance with Self-Hypnosis
Aside from the hypnosis techniques above, runners could also use hypnosis to help with physical and mental issues, such as:
- Reducing muscle tensions: Sometimes, the body develops pain caused by what the mind is thinking. A good example of this is muscle tensions, which can be reduced significantly through consistent self-hypnosis.
- Increasing endurance: Any athlete knows that a person’s headspace and state of mind are connected to his/her endurance. Even if they’re the strongest they’ve ever been at this point in time but develop performance anxiety or some sense of doom and negativity, the strength of an athlete depreciates. When you develop better endurance (both physically and mentally), this knowledge can make you feel invincible.
- Managing pain effectively: If pain meds are not an option, hypnosis can save you from feeling pain from sore muscles or injured body parts. You’d be surprised how successful self-hypnosis or hypnotherapy sessions can be in increasing pain endurance or reducing soreness.
- Tap subconscious state: It would take numerous hypnotherapy sessions to get used to tapping your subconscious state, but once you’re able to do so, the clarity and peace you’ll feel are priceless. It’s understandable why you would like to re-create that feeling in the next session.
- Breaking physical limits: Hypnotherapy trains your mind to focus on the goal, pinpoint your emotions with an appropriate image, and in turn improve endurance, break your own records, reach running goals, and generally discover an improved version of yourself.
Embracing the world of hypnosis for running is a wonderful thing. Like any other form of psychotherapy, the results cannot come overnight. You have to push yourself to make sense of your own weaknesses, accept that you need to improve, learn better focus techniques, and continuously research ways to free your head from roadblocks.
Whether you choose to do it yourself with positive self-talk and other self-help techniques, or you’d rather attend a hypnotherapy session with a professional, you’re bound to notice the effects of hypnosis on your running endurance. And once you do, it’s a guarantee you won’t go back. Almost all the athletes who have unlocked their full potential through hypnosis have continued to practice visualization and other hypnotherapy techniques to this day.