Jul 13, 2018
This Olympic sport
psychologist will take us through the mental issues we face as
runners and in our day to day lives. This interview provides
real and practical advice in how we can maximize our
performance by building balance into our lives and a strong
focus on what is the most important thing in our lives right
now. Kim is a runner, triathlete and mother that has
worked with Olympians and Professional sports organizations.
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
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
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 way in the past. The only concern
is to be sure that the practitioner has built the experience
necessary on the psychology side.
- All of us can use the services of someone to help us in our
mental training as we are all balancing the needs of our busy
lives. The practitioner can assist all of us in figuring out how to
fit our goals into your already busy lives so that you have balance
in your life and are positioned to achieve what you want to
- In order to focus on several things, you need to be sure to
build in the appropriate support system around you 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 exercises, it can
be a coping tool, it can be “me time”. Just be sure you are not
using it to run away from something difficult in your life and
using it as an avoidance mechanism.
- What is your go-to strategy for coping with stress and your
natural tendencies. How do you 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 s
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 so we can cope with
them. How to be able to learn what it is you really want out of
your life and how to move forward. For each athlete, the answer can
vary, the individual needs to decide how much help and support they
need and when.
- How she believes that she doesn’t need to be on site the day of
a big race, she has provided the skills needed to cope mentally and
has built in them the resources within themselves to not need to be
dependent on her as a coach. How she has found that a couple of
weeks before pretty much everyone has an “oh crap I can’t do that”
and it is important to know that everyone has those and you can get
past it. Our emotions, behaviors, and thoughts might not also align
right at the right point in time and now to work through when to
focus on each one. Those are as important as your physical peaking
- How some nerves are good, we want the adrenaline as it helps us
perform. But when it progresses too far and into anxiety, it is
fear based. Many recreational runners start thinking of the race
before they even get there. It is important to do some
visualization of all parts of the race, right from the night before
and preparation so you can manage the nerves. There are techniques
to warm up mentally as well as physically so you manage the stress
and they have to be practiced ahead of time so you can take control
of your emotion and walk yourself back down.
- How to use a tool of writing yourself or coach an email that
describes the race and how you plan to run it. Then after the fact
review what you actually did and what you did or did not follow in
your plan and how you can learn from it.
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
There are times and seasons for your passions in your
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
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.
Last week's episode with Jason Fitzgerald
Running for Real Superstars Community
Kim on Twitter
Email Kim : KDawson@wlu.ca
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