Kim Dawson will take us through the mental issues we face as runners and in our day to day lives. This interview provides practical advice on how we can maximize our performance by building balance into our lives and having a strong focus on what is the most important thing in our lives right now. Kim is a runner, triathlete, and mother, who has worked with Olympians and professional sports organizations.

Today’s Guest

Kim Dawson is a sports and exercise psychologist at the Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  She has worked with elite athletes, Olympians and professional sports organizations for over ten years, helping them develop the mental side of their performance.  Her company, Mind2Achieve, works with individuals and companies, offering leadership training, group dynamics workshops, and personal performance psychology.  Kim is a mom of two and lives in Waterloo.

What you will learn about:

  • How sports psychology is becoming more prevalent but is changing from what it was many years ago. It has become much more open and accessible than it ever was in the past. The only concern is to be sure that the practitioner has the experience necessary on the psychology side.
  • All of us could use the services of someone to help us in our mental training as we balance the needs of our busy lives. A practitioner can help you figure out how to fit your goals into your already busy life so that you are positioned to achieve your goals.
  • In order to focus on several things, you need to have a support system to help pick up the things you cannot juggle effectively on your own.
  • Determine what running means to you, and realize that it can change across the seasons of your life. It can be exercise, it can be a coping tool, it can be “me time.” Just be sure you are not using it as an avoidance mechanism to run away from something difficult in your life.
  • What your go-to strategy is for coping with stress.  How to manage fear or pain so you can make adjustments accordingly. What defines success for any race, because each one can have a different motivation, and what you need on any given day can vary.
  • How to determine if you need an ongoing relationship with a sport psychologist or whether a few sessions can give you tools to work with as you go forward. How you can learn to control the controllable things and let go of the others.  How to determine what it is you really want out of your life and how to move forward.
  • How Kim believes that she doesn’t need to be on site the day of a big race because she has provided the skills the athlete needs to cope mentally and has provided them with resources within themselves so they don’t need to depend on her as a coach. How she has found that a couple of weeks before a race pretty much everyone thinks, “oh crap, I can’t do that” and how it’s important to know that everyone feels that way and you can get past it. Our emotions, behaviors, and thoughts might not align at the right time, so before a race is when to work through when to focus on each one. This is as important as your physical peaking during training.
  • How some nerves are good; we want the adrenaline because it helps us perform. But when it becomes anxiety, it is fear based. It is important to do some visualization of all parts of a race so you can manage your nerves. There are techniques to warm up mentally as well as physically so you can manage stress, and they have to be practiced ahead of time so you can take control of your emotion.
  • How to use writing yourself or your coach an email that describes the race and how you plan to run it as a tool. Then after the fact, review what you actually did or did not follow in your plan and consider how you can learn from it.

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Inspirational Quotes:

I’m a big proponent of “not yet.”  There are always consequences and sacrifices for everything you decide to do.  Be aware so that you don’t lose the options that might be available if you pay attention to your choices.  There are times and seasons for your passions in your life.

Running is a very self-involved endeavor.  It is something that can take away from other aspects in your life if you are not mindful and careful of the right balance or you risk losing something important.

If not now, when?  Are you satisfied with just performing or do you want more?

It is all about the action plan for how you are going to get there, not what you want.

Our experience can be lessons that take us forward or anchors that hold us back.  We can’t stay in the place that makes a disappointment an anchor and learn to use the lessons to move forward with what we want.

Resources:

Last week’s episode with Jason Fitzgerald

Tina4Real Podcast 

Running for Real Superstars Community

Kim’s website

Kim on Twitter

Email Kim : KDawson@wlu.ca

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Thank you to HOKA ONE ONE and Aaptiv for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.

HOKA ONEONE Clifton 5 are becoming my new go-to shoe. The first new brand of shoe I had tried in four years, and I put them straight on for an hour, and LOVED them. Feels like you have soft marshmallows to cushion your feet with every step. Get two day free shipping using code running4real

Thanks to Aaptiv for supporting the podcast. New members get 30% off annual membership at http://www.aaptiv.com/running4real

Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

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Thank you to Kim. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

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2 Comments.

  • Hi Tina,

    Absolutely loved this episode. I’m currently undertaking my PhD (in sport and exercise psychology) and even though my knowledge on behaviour change and physical activity/sport participation is there, my running has being stagnating and I’m feeling more and more frustrated by it, so much that my mileage has fallen through the floor. Even I need to be reminded that running isn’t all about times and results, and I’m currently re-evaluating my relationship with running.

    Massive kudos to Kim Dawson for her insight, really needed to hear this today.

    • HI Rachel,
      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment today. Speaking with Tina on her podcast helped me to strengthen my priorities as well. I wanted to reach out to you because I can remember making a very conscious decision about my running while I was completing my PhD. I remember coming to the conclusion that I couldn’t push hard in everything that I was doing at the time. I knew that I wanted to be an academic and that in order to have the motivation to complete all that is required in that achievement academic domain, I needed to free up some energy. I chose to keep the frequency of my running and alter the intensity and the duration of each workout. I won’t say it was always easy and I still remember competing in a 5k run after I had altered my training program and being passed by a runner who I had beaten in the past quite regularly. My ego took a hit that day! However, I didn’t let my fragile ego take me off my course. I kept my eye on the long game. Now, I couldn’t be more happy as i enjoy the opportunities (competitively and academically) that are presented to me at this stage in my life. I assure you Rachel that everything that you want in life will be there for you when the timing is right for you to complete it. Have faith, make good decisions, and deal with the emotions that follow. Your own experiences will serve to make you an even better consultant for others!

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