There is a new ad that is being played during the Tour de France from the Specialized bicycle company. In the spot, a young boy is riding his heart out, being chased by a professional cyclist. The ad presents the scene as if it were television coverage of a stage of the Tour de France, complete with color commentary, chase vehicles, and the drama that goes along with great cycling pursuits.
When I first saw it, I absolutely loved it. I mentioned it to a few people because it was so powerful to me. Then I started thinking about why it connected with me so powerfully. The connection comes from the fact that I day-dream like this all of the time. I do it during my workouts. Then it occurred to me that I might be the only one that does this. Thankfully, in asking many of my friends, runners, and cyclists I found they do this as well. It turns out that we didn’t stop dreaming like this when we were ten year-old boys and girls. We still do it today.
Think about this for a minute as a training tool. Imagine yourself in two different scenarios. In scenario one, you are running up a long hill thinking about the work that you have to do after lunch. In scenario two, you are running up the same long hill, this time your brain is firing off color commentary at you. You are being urged on to be the first to break the American Record or to win the Olympic Games. Perhaps you are a surprise story that has shocked the world, because you came out of nowhere to take the lead on the last lap and if you can just hold on, you’re going to be the first American woman over 40 to qualify for the Olympic Trials. I think you get the picture.
These visualizations are actually a great tool for sharpening our focus and pushing ourselves in training. Today’s message really is aimed at those that don’t do this kind of visualization and those that might be able to use a visualization to make more of their training.
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