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Last week I picked up the latest issue of Running Times. There was a short article entitled Being in the Moment by Tamara Rice Lave that really struck a chord with me.  The main gist of it was that as runners we should “shut down your brain and just believe”.

The part that really grabbed my attention however was the mention of the Harvard Women’s basketball team and their coach, Kathy Delaney-Smith.  Several years ago she coached her team to one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history with the “Act as if…” philosophy (they are the only 16th seeded team in NCAA history ever to beat a  #1 seed in the Big Dance).

The idea is to “act as if you already are what you want to become”.  Once you sell yourself on the concept, you are that much closer to achieving it.

Now, one of the first things I thought of was, taken to extremes, this could be one of the most idiotic philosophies ever.  We’ve seen those people who act as if they are the funniest person in the room when in fact, they’re about as funny as a bowl of white rice; or the guy who acts as if he’s the smartest person in the office, when in fact he speaks plenty but says little at meetings.

I don’t think the “Act as if…” philosophy works for them.

But I DO believe that if you are aware of who and what you are, and have a grasp on what your talent level really is, you can make this philosophy work to your advantage.

It is the little things that Coach Delaney-Smith insists on her players believing in/acting as if that I think have a huge impact on these athletes when they are in the thick of a hotly contested game.

Act as if you’re not tired.

Act as if you’re confident.

Act as if you’re not hurt.

By acting as if these things are true, you can begin to make them happen.  And once you learn to instinctively apply it to the little things, you can then apply it to the big race/the long run/interval training.  Obviously you (unless your name is Ryan or Mebs, in which case I’m honored you’re reading this) can’t tell yourself or act as if you are going to win the Boston Marathon, but knowing what you know you can do and then acting as if you can go a little faster, harder and longer is well within the realm of possibility.

And you can apply this philosophy to other parts of your life as well.  When and where you apply it is totally up to you.

All I know is that in 6 days, I am going to shut down my brain and just believe.  I plan on acting as if I’m going to run a 3:20 marathon or better…and that’s exactly what I’m gonna do!

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The rest of the article is excellent by the way.  I highly recommend clicking over and reading it.

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