I wrote on my Facebook status this morning stating that my race pack for the New Forest marathon had arrived which included my race number and the course map. There is a lovely section in the brochure for the race where the course is described mile by mile and within the sentences of beautiful description for the stunning villages and countryside, Forest trails run through, is subtle mentions of the course being ‘undulating’ and frequent mentions of ‘uphill climbs’… *Gulp*
So it is not likely to be anyone’s first choice of marathon for achieving a personal best, but I am using it as preparation for next years spate of successive marathons that I am running for charity which I’ll be writing about in more depth here towards the end of the year.
I am finalising the last bits of the new audio programme I am releasing in coming months about the mindset for running marathons and one of those things that used to affect me was the promise of a tough, hilly race such as the New Forest marathon I am running in 3 weeks time. These days things are different though. Let me explain…
Every sports psychologist or sports therapist or specialist of some kind talks of and knows about the Roger Bannister story. it is incredibly motivating and inspiring and highlights the importance of the psychological side of sporting performance and achievement.
For years and years it had been assumed and accepted that humans were never going to be able to run a mile in less than four minutes and the record that stood at 4 minutes and 6 seconds would never be broken. Though between the years of 1942 and 1945 a pair of Swedish rivals Arne Andersson and Gunder Hagg kept beating each others records and between them got the record down to 4 minutes and a second.
In 1954, along came the brilliant Roger Bannister who achieved a new world record of 3:59.4 and broke the unbreakable barrier of the four minute mile that had for so long eluded mankind.
Bannisters achievement in itself was great, however, what then ensued is quite remarkable. Roger bannister’s main rival of the day was a man named John Landy, who just a short while later lowered the record to 3:57.9. Then lots of others followed suit. A notion of breaking four minutes to run a mile that had eluded people for so very long was being toppled left, right and centre.
Back in 1999 the Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj had lowered the record to 3:43.13.
Bannister was known for having a particular mindset and determination and there are quotes of him suggesting that those that can overcome the most pain (in itself a mental ability) and still carry on would be victorious.
As soon as runners considered the four minute mile possible and saw it achieved, it was swept aside as more runners believed themselves capable.
There is a metaphor told often in personal development circles about a circus that was training a baby elephant to perform. From day one, a heavy chain was tied to the baby elephant’s back leg and the chain was attached to a strong metal stake that had been fixed and drilled deep into the ground. However much it struggled, the baby elephant could not move beyond the range of the chain’s length and stopped trying to escape after a while. Despite growing big and strong, the elephant always assumed that when the chain was attached to the leg, it would not be able to move. Even when later in life, it just had a chain affixed to the leg and not attached to anything else at the other end. it stayed tame and within the distance it had learned, never challenging it further despite being more than capable of walking away.
Many hypnotherapists use similar ideas metaphorically and I often use a notion with my sporting clients that I learned from a 1989 book by havens and Walters (p.141) whereby a similar notion is used, but about horses.
The horses are enclosed by an electric fence that gives them a very light electric shock when near and so they learn to stay within its boundaries. Then after a while, the electricity can be disconnected and ribbon used to fence the field they are in and the horses remain within those barriers.
Yet if one horse were to run and jump or power through the ribbon, many others may well follow, much the same as Roger Bannister and the four minute mile. The focus then becomes more about the beliefs of the individual in relation to what they believe they can achieve.
I can remember when I first knew I wanted to be a hypnotherapist. I had enjoyed the benefits of hypnosis myself to create some well-being in my life. It had a profound effect upon me. I had only met one hypnotherapist and liked him, but he did not run courses of any kind and so I muddled around trying to find the right course for me to train to be a hypnotherapist myself.
I allowed that to be a barrier until I got off my backside many months afterwards and found someone who I liked and resonated well with. This wasted some time that I could have used to be living the life I wanted, the life I created and discovered for myself a few years later – much of which I have been sharing here over more recent years.
Often, marathon runners refer to a particular phenomenon and following a couple of 20 mile races during my last marathon training schedule, I overheard some fellow runners discussing this thing that is known as ‘The Wall.’
When I was working on BBC1’s TV programme ‘Run For Glory’ I had to help the budding marathon runners to overcome the psychological effects of possibly hitting ‘the wall.’
In running terms, ‘the wall’ is whereby your body has used up most of its readily available fuel and is trying to find it from your muscles and other resources and if you have not been replacing that fuel throughout the race, your body can scream and shout and cause the runner a lots of issues – possibly leading them to stop being able to run at all. There is lots of TV footage of people writhing in agony because of this phenomena of ‘the wall.’
Why am I mentioning this then?
Well, of course, the wall is simply a metaphor for such a physiological occurrence. A wall is a powerful metaphor in many other aspects of personal development too and that is the metaphor for your benefit with this hypnosis technique.
Many, many people that I encounter or work with seem to get stuck by the same things in life. It is amazing. We all experience obstacles, barriers and things that impede our progress towards our goals and sometimes we simply give up instead of breaking through.
When diets fail us, or we lose motivation to exercise, or we do not reach a target set at work, or we cannot seem to earn enough money to make ends meet, or we can’t let go of a fear that we keep having… or whatever it is that we seem to keep running up against.
Five Steps To Overcome Psychological Barriers:
Step One: Get yourself into a comfortable position and one whereby you are going to be undisturbed for the duration of this exercise. make sure your feet are flat on the floor and place your dominant hand in your lap with your palm facing upwards.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my Science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio we give away on this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method
Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis
The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method
Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction
Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis
The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction
However, with this process, an induction is potentially too much activity, so I teach my clients how to adopt a hypnotic mindset and simply have a mindset that is positive and expectant. Again, to really understand the cognitive set of the hypnotic mindset, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book where it is explained in simple but comprehensive terms.
Once you have induced hypnosis, or just adopted the hypnotic mindset, move on to the next step.
Step Two: Just have a think about something you wish to overcome… Keep that thing in your mind… In my earlier example, I’d wish to overcome the potential fear of running a marathon that is described as very hilly and undulating!
Now as you relax, just reflect on your inner thoughts, not directing your thoughts, just observing them for a few moments. Become aware of what you are thinking and become aware of how you think. This might seem unusual, just observe yourself and let your beliefs, your abilities just roll around in your mind for a few moments. Then just have little think about how wonderful it is going to be to overcome limitations or blocks that may have been getting in the way of achieving that outcome.
Just comfortably expand your awareness and allow yourself to be receptive to what is coming up.
Step Three: From here onwards, allow yourself to use your imagination. Whether you see these things… imagine them… sense them… or pretending that you are imagining them… Just trust that you are doing this in the way that is right for you… .
You do not have to visualise these things in perfect pictures, you know that by now, just imagine them as best as you can. Or pretend that you are imagining them – that is just as good.
Imagine that there is a barrier or a wall of some sort out there in front of you in the distance. As you get closer you can sense the details of the barrier; the colour of it, the texture, the material it is made of. be aware of the size of it, which might be parallel to the size of the issue at hand.
Allow this barrier to appear in front of you in whatever way feels and seems right for you.
Here is the thing… Imagine that the barrier in front of you symbolises anything that has been impeding your progression toward the outcome you want for yourself.
Ask yourself what the real reason is that you want to overcome this barrier. A great way to do that is to think again of your desired outcome that exists beyond the barrier and remind yourself of how things are going to be when the barrier is gone from your life and your mind.
Once you have a really vivid idea of how things are going to be once the barrier is gone, then move on to the next step.
Step Four: Imagine reaching deep inside yourself and finding the determination and inspiration you need and then symbolically and metaphorically get rid of this barrier in your mind.
Really imagine reaching deep inside of yourself to that special place within you where your inner resources are. That place where you know you can achieve wonderful things.
In your mind, go ahead and bash it down. Smash it, destroy it, scrub it out, zap it and erase it in any way that feels right and satisfying to you. Have some fun here and discover how good it feels to have the freedom to move forward and be free of that old wall.
Use whatever power, whatever thoughts, whatever abilities or information you need and remove that barrier. Maybe you blow it up with explosives! Just release it in whatever way feels most suitable and satisfying for you.
Now look out into the clear horizon and see what is there now that you are free of that old wall. Imagining that your dreams are coming nearer now as a result of your actions.
Inside your mind celebrate. Shout a few “Woo-hoo’s” inside your mind. Get some fireworks going off. Maybe you remember other times when you really accomplished something you were proud of. Get that feeling and spread it throughout your body and let yourself feel really good. Get some excitement inside your mind and feel really wonderful to have removed that barrier form your mind and from your life.
Think of that action you can now go and take in order to prove to yourself that the barrier is gone and go act upon it! So that when this session comes to an end… You then go and take some action. Take a specific step that is undeniably convincing to you that you have let go of that old barrier, that old obstacle. Give yourself some actual proof that you have let go of that old thing.
Step Five: Wiggle your fingers and toes, take a couple of deep energising breaths and open your eyes and go do that thing.
You see, with marathon runners, there is no actual physical wall. With the right preparation, the right training, the right attitude, the right actions, the wall is simply avoided and does not exist when you run a marathon.
Any wall or old barrier that may have existed in your mind in the past is just the same. It exists only in your mind. Just as Roger Bannister showed us all.
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.