It’s the first day of winter here in Canada, but that didn’t stop the snow from arriving early. Somewhat ironically, today is the warmest day we’ve had in a week or two and, in classic maritime fashion, the snow has been undergoing a wonderful cycle of melting and refreezing.
Things are very slippery today.
My walk to the gym followed a route of ice-caked sidewalks, most of them half-flooded and practically begging for a skull to split. Needless to say, the trip here was an exercise in mindfulness.
Anyone who has had any exposure to Buddhism is probably familiar with the concept of mindfulness: simply being aware of the moment, of yourself and the world around you. It is a practice that can benefit our lives in many ways, bringing us back to the present and out of the constant state of hurry and worry that modern life thrusts upon us.
It may seem obvious to say that we should be mindful in our training as well, but saying and understanding are two very different things.
To draw the best results from our training, we have to be present for every repetition, every stride, and every breath. It’s not an all-or-nothing thing; the more we connect ourselves mentally to our performance, the more we hone our focus, the more we will learn about ourselves as athletes, as humans.
And knowledge is, of course, power.
Being mentally present during training gives us a dynamic “systems report” of our bodies. We have to know if we’ve pushed hard enough, or that we’ve pushed too hard and our technique has degraded. We have to know if part of the system is expressing the pain of fatigue or the pain of injury. We have to know whether today is the day to reach for that next level, or if our bodies are begging us to lay low and recover.
Get your head in the game. Move like you mean it.
[And Happy Holidays too!]