I first started to meditate about 3 years ago. I even went to a Buddhist centre to learn the tricks of the trade. I ended up learning about Buddha as well.
If I knew how powerful meditation is when I was competing I think I would have gotten more out of myself. Hindsight is wonderful! I used to worry about everything leading up to the race. Who will be there, what way will the race go out, what if I run crap. Everything negative. Most of the time I would have stood on the start line and want to be anywhere else but there. I was so emotionally drained with nerves and negative thoughts that I didn't want to race. I felt like most of my best runs was in training. In an environment that I could control and run free.
One of the athletes I worked with turned to me the morning of a Diamond League race and said "he is not from this planet" in relation to one of the people he was racing. At that point I knew that he had already lost the race. By the results of his training I would have said he could break the world record. It wasn't his physical ability that lost. It was his mental ability to stay calm and positive leading up to the race that cost him to get the best out of himself.
This doesn't just apply to sport. It applies to everyone who wants to get the best from themselves.
Anxiety is the inability to remain in the present moment. Mindfulness based training is learning about what way you feel in that present moment. Do you feel tense? Nauseous? Nervous? Fine tuning your body to be able to cope while feeling a certain way will help you progress and enjoy yourself more successfully.
When starting out meditating, you might feel silly and seem pointless. Start off with 3 minutes. My first 3 minutes felt like an eternity. I couldn't wait to get up and do something. I stuck with it and the energy I felt afterwards was strange.
I first started out with guided meditation. I found that this helps understand what you should be doing. I still sometimes use a guided version but I like being able to focus my own mind on how I am doing right there and then.
I would suggest doing meditation the morning of your race and again before your warm up. You should feel a sense of calmness but energetic. Not in a way that is like taking a stimulant.
There are many apps you can download to help you meditate and be mindful. Even the new ios10 update for iPhones has a section in the Health app that focuses on Mindfulness. (Headspace, Simple Habit, Pacifica are three which i recommend. Click on the photo to direct you to their site)
A school even decided to replace detention with meditation. (See Full Article Here). What a great idea. We have come a long way in Ireland but we still need to keep going. As Bressie says "we are now in a "what do we do now" stage. Speaking to a primary school teacher who used to do mediation with his pupils but had to stop because the parents said they weren't doing enough maths and science. I think we have a propensity to be busy fools. Instead of taking a step back and figuring out what is best in the long run. How can we get the best out of ourselves. I feel meditation is a way we can do that.