Intention: a determination to act a certain way.
Be intentional in your training.
Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome.
How to Practice Intentional Training:
1 - Show up with a positive mindset.
Being intentional requires mental stimulation and the best way to get your mind right for your training session is to show up a few minutes early and check in with yourself (how are you feeling, what is your mood, are you making magic or mud, etc) and employing positive self-talk. Tell yourself that you’re READY and able to crush your session.
2 - Never skip your warm-up. Aside from the negative physiological effects that missing a warm-up has on your body, you would also miss out on the opportunity to consider the goals of your workout, leading me to my next point…
3 - Have a purpose.
Every workout should have a why. As you prepare for your session, ask yourself these questions: what is the reason you brought yourself to the road, gym, track, etc. today? What goals are you trying to accomplish? How will you benefit from your training session?
As you think about your goals, be realistic and be specific. Instead of “I want to lose weight”, consider “I want to lose 10 pounds in 60 days by training 5 times a week.” Specifics allow you to stay focused on your goal and allow you to progress along the way.
Having a purpose for your training session will not only motivate you to push yourself, but also keep you from getting bored or burnt out. You can refresh or renew your goals as often as you need to and with some consistency, you will start seeing results. Nothing is more motivating than that!
4 - Practice mindfulness during your session.
Intentional, non-judgmental awareness. Be in the moment and be attentive without bias. Focus your attention on cues and tasks that are relevant to your session. Start from your toes and work your way up. How do your toes feel? Your feet? Are you in the right shoes? Ankles, calves, knees…move up your body and recognize how each body part feels and how each body part is involved in your task (in our case running). How do your clothes feel on your body? Any chafing or discomfort? Check in on your posture, your core strength, where are your arms, are your fists balled tight or relaxed? What about your jaw? Are you tense?
Literally go up through your whole body and be aware. A few things are happening here. First, you are getting to know your body as a runner and noticing your strengths and where we can make improvements or maybe some adjustments (like fresh run shorts). Next, you are working on elements of this training session that you can control, YOU! And this leads to ownership. The more ownership you take over your session, the more likely you are to enjoy it. The more you enjoy your sessions, the more likely you are to keep training.
5 - Finally, never skip your cool-down. Take this time to reflect on your training session and give your muscles the stretch they deserve.