Within the past week, the topic of visualization has presented itself to me in various modes of communication – from books I’ve read, to podcasts, to face-to-face conversations. So naturally I decided to spend some time deep diving the topic and give it a little of my undivided attention. My days get pretty busy so my BEST thinking with undivided attention is done first thing in the morning before everyone else wakes up or while I’m running. The visualization truth bomb just happened to hit me yesterday while I was out on my run.
Ashley Horner Running
I recently purchased Achieving Prominence and Pipehitter and started Day 1 of AP last Monday. Long story short, yesterday, Day 6, was 2 conditioning circuits AND a 6 mile run. I’m not going to lie I kind of freaked out. I haven’t been running like I used to. BUT I wasn’t going to let that stop me from trying.
So I completed my circuits and then I headed out with my lab, Abby, for the run. It takes about 1/2 mile or so (or until Abby does her business) for me to ease into my stride, let my body take over, and my mind to become free. To think, to plan, to dream, to just forget about any of the to-do lists or uncompleted tasks looming over me. On this particular run I devoted my time to visualization – the act itself but more than that, the concept.  Before I even took my first step I visualized myself leaving my house, the route I was going to take, what I was going to think about, and how I was going to finish. And I realized something – I have already been practicing visualization without even paying attention to the fact that it IS something that I do!! Especially when it comes to running.
Which lit a spark in me and made me think deeper thoughts. When did this begin? Why is it so important?How has it impacted my life?
I believe the process of visualization began as far back for me as my high school track days. At least those are the furthest memories I have of my awareness to visualization. If I were to pick any of the sports I participated in in high school, I would have to say that track and field is where I excelled. I had a passion for the sport and loved that it pushed me against myself while still being a team sport. More than the intention to win a particular race, I always showed up to give it my all and be better than the race before. I was always chasing a personal best and taking first was just a happy accident. I believe I was successful in this sport for a couple of reasons but I now know how important the act of visualization was. Before every race or event that I was competing in, I would take time while I was stretching and warming up to imagine myself finishing. I would think about it over and over, focused on giving it my best effort and watching myself crossing the finish line, handing off the baton, or jumping farther into the sand pit.
I believe it is why, to this day, that I get so nervous when I partake in local road races. Even sitting here right now typing this makes me anxious with anticipation. I visualize so hard that I get lost and my focus becomes razor sharp because I know I am about to do all that I can to FINISH what I set out to do!!
Call it a dream, call it a vision, but WAYYYYYY back when I fell in love with HIIT I pictured myself teaching classes to a group of people. I am now a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and certified Les Mills GRIT coach leading several group fitness classes a week, and most recently a contributor to the Ashley Horner blogging team. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason and the dream I had way back then has led me to where I am today. But I’m not taking credit for that entirely – I am a dreamer and I am a doer and I believe in the power of visualization. I also believe that God has orchestrated my path through my trust in Him and He has given my dreams reality. This translates into areas of life other than fitness. You have to see yourself taking the jump, making the attempt, and following through. You have to take the risk and trust that everything will work out. And yes you may fall and yes there may be bumps along the way but how will you EVER know what you are capable of unless you believe in yourself enough to try??
Even if I’m not successful at everything I plan on attempting in the future, I would much rather try, than be left with any regrets or left wondering “what if?”