Josh Kerr European Record | Mental techniques for running

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On February 27, Josh Kerr of the Brooks Beasts clocked a 3:48.87 mile at Boston University. He is now one of seven athletes to run below 3:50 indoors. His mark is also the new Scottish, British and European indoor record. And his 1500m time of 3:32.86 en route also broke Scottish and British records.

Kerr attributes the blistering mile record to many factors: Teammate Waleed Suliman’s perfect pace. Coaching by Danny Mackey. Scheduling behind-the-scenes tapings of Brooks and his agent, Ray Flynn. New bodybuilding routines. The support of his family, his fiancée, his friends and his training partners.

But more than anything else, he credits the work he’s put in mentally with helping him make the leap from 2017 NCAA champion to 2021 Olympic bronze medalist – and now European record holder.

“It’s so important not to worry about those big moments,” Kerr said. Runner’s world. “I have deep weaknesses in my mind that we are working on.”

Here are some of the mental strategies that turned this Brooks Beast into a monster miler.

Don’t lose the race before it starts

During a conversation with his fiancée, Kerr became aware of his mental game.

“We knew you can’t win a race in the call room, but you can lose it from the call room to the start line,” he said. He wanted to make sure that between warm-up and race time, nothing came to mind to prevent success on the track.

Each race has a different mantra. Sometimes he will remember words of gratitude for all the hard work that got him to where he is. Other times, he will think back to key practices that went well to give him confidence. It’s not always easy – it took practice to learn how to collect thoughts while avoiding negativity.

“Having positive memories and words that I’m ready for when those negative thoughts come to mind always helps combat the scary moments,” he said.

Work with a professional

While talking to friends and family about the mental side of running was cathartic, Kerr found it difficult at times. So he looked for someone on the outside whose job it is to listen.

“At this point I am working extremely hard. We are very strict with food, sleep, [training], and all that,” he said. “How can we unlock fitness more than anyone else?”

Kerr decided to work with a mindfulness coach. Together they discuss mental problems to find concrete solutions through meditation and conversation.

Stick to a routine

Kerr’s mindfulness coach recommended starting each day with a consistent routine. If he could remove all the external variables that might affect his mental state, then he could go into the day with a clear mindset.

As a result, he begins his days with 10 minutes of meditation. Then he can go outside to enjoy the weather, have a chat with those around him, or call a family member to chat. Then he will log for 10 to 15 minutes in his training diary.

“Just having this morning routine that doesn’t change… That’s how I’m able to stay in the moment and be very grateful for the position I’m in,” Kerr said.

Don’t call

When Kerr is focused on training or racing, looking at his phone can do more harm than good. Emails with new tasks might distract him. He might read distressing news on social media that would stick in his brain for the rest of the day.

That’s not to say Kerr doesn’t use his phone, but he mostly tries to get away from it in the morning: “I’m able to be a little more positive and I have the motivation to do exactly what I I need. do that day, as best as I can.

practice humility

After her bronze medal, Kerr’s motivation plummeted, as you would expect when someone achieves a major life goal. By the time of fall training, he was out of shape. He has barely finished hill training with his teammates.

At the same time, he would be called to Brooks headquarters to do interviews or to speak to different departments with his medal around his neck. The dichotomy of those two experiences – getting beaten in practice while being praised for his accomplishments – kept him humbled.

“If I can constantly do things that make me feel uncomfortable, then I’ll never be that person who thinks they’re the s— when they’re not,” he said. he declares.

Kerr will carry that thought with him throughout the outdoor track season, where he will open with a 5,000 meter race at an as yet undetermined venue. Long distance is not his forte. “I ran very well [at Boston], but now I’m about to do something I’m not very good at. So, I try to stay humble with this stuff.


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