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The Running for Real Podcast

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.

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 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 achieve.
  • 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 from training.
  • 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.


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.


Last week's episode with Jason Fitzgerald

Tina4Real Podcast 

Running for Real Superstars Community

Kim's website

Kim on Twitter

Email Kim :

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