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In addition to giving runners knowledge about how their bodies respond to various training patterns, experience bestows on them a sense of €œwhat it takes in their training to meet certain performance standards in races. In Chapter 1, I discussed the concept of physical confidence, which I defined as your subconscious brain’s informed prediction of your body’s current performance capabilities. This prediction is fundamentally self-fulfilling, because your brain will not allow you to run harder than it predicts you safely can run. Remember, the name of the mechanism that performs these calculations is anticipatory regulation, and indeed this mechanism not only anticipates your body’s performance limits but also enforces, or regulates, them. In consideration of this fact, the goal of training becomes to teach your anticipatory regulation mechanism that your body can do what you want it to dothat is, to establish physical confidence that you can achieve your race goals. Because mental confidence largely follows from physical confidence, a reliable way to develop physical confidence is to put yourself through training experiences that maximize your mental confidence in your ability to achieve your race goals. Before you begin to train for your next big race, try to imagine some realistic training performances that would leave you feeling very good about your chances of success in that race. Also imagine how hard your hardest week of training would have to be to maximize your confidence. Establish these peak workouts and this peak training week as the terminal point of the training cycle. It does not matter if the workouts you come up with are a little unusual or if the peak training week you envision is unlike anything you have seen in a book or on a Web site. If you have enough experience to have a strong sense of what it takes for you to achieve certain race performance standards, trust your subconscious brain’s suggestions.

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