Find Your Own Haven & Voice

I've previously written on the topic of Breakthrough Performances.  As it pertains to this blog in particular, ask yourself: "Where do I have my best workouts?Which trail, route, course, or track always treats you well?  Or, which place do you only visit sporadically that seems to allow you to have your best workouts?  I refer to such places as "havens." 

The other question to ask is: "Whose voice do I hear in my head when I need to keep pushing myself?"

I went to my own haven last week, the track at Widener University (my alma mater) and had my best track workout of the past 2 years.  It also helped that I ran into my old track coach as I was jogging down to the track.  We only had a single minute to chat, but as I turned to keep jogging he said in a purposeful voice, "Hey...workout hard today!"  I had his voice in my head during a few moments of the the workout and it kept me focused.  I turned in my fastest times in recent history without an increase in perceived exertion.  This is the power of positive self-talk and imagery done correctly.  Who is the voice inside your head?  I assume it's your own voice 90% of the time, but what about the other 10% of the time?   

A few months ago, I finished Stephen King's book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (what a genius mind!), and he said that he always had the voice of his wife (also a writer) in his head when he was contemplating decisions about his stories (or similar).  He welcomed an extra (conjured) voice to help him break through decisions about his writing.  In sum, not only should you have a place where you can go for A-game workouts (King created his own haven, his own special writing room in his house), but you should also have a good default setting for the voice of your internal dialogue while training.  You don't need a voice all of the time (shutting the brain off is a hallmark of elite athletics and a central theme in my book on run training), but when you do have a voice, choose one wisely.  Keep it in reserve, like a "Break in Case of Emergency" glass case.

Train hard!