Using Focal Points in Running

Forums Library Run Course Instructions Using Focal Points in Running

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    Admin Mediterra

    Focal points are the center piece of training attention and improving consistency of form. You must direct your attention somewhere or it will just wander. Your held-attention on a certain position or movement pattern is how you train that neural circuit to do what you want.

    Focal points are code words that represent a part of your body and a specific action or sensation that part should achieve. Focal points tell you where to pay attention.

    When a skill is new to your brain, it really can only pay decent attention to one focal point at a time. In a practice you may choose two or three focal points to work on during that session, but you may only pay attention to one of them at a time. As the brain gets more familiar with that skill, it may be able to hold two (related) focal points together at the same time. This is a sign of progress in your neural strength.


    Attention Span

    Your attention fatigues just like muscles do. Early on you may aim to hold attention on a single focal point up to 5 minutes. Then it would be time to switch to another focal point for a while. Later on, as your strength of attention increases, you may aim to hold attention up to 15 minutes.

    If you have set an intention to hold attention on a focal point for 5 minutes, then do not be alarmed if you lose attention. The moment you are aware that is has drifted, just bring it back to the chosen focal point. Make no emotional response to the failure – just bring it back. The act of bringing attention back is a strengthen exercise itself. The more your mind wanders the more you get to exercise and strengthen that ‘return attention’ response. Eventually, you’ll notice you can hold attention longer before you are distracted. 



    Eventually the circuit trained by your attention will get ‘hard-wired’ into the brain and you can rely on it to operate without having to pay attention to it all the time. You can enjoy ‘auto-pilot’ mode for a while. But when you feel some warning signals go off that something in your form has deteriorated, then it is time to switch off auto-pilot and review some of your focal points to find out where the problem is and correct it.


    Example Of Using Focal Points

    Here is an example of how you may cycle through focal points in a Form Practice

    The assignment of 15 rounds of ‘1 minute run / 1 minute walk’ is converted into 3 rounds of  ‘5x 1min run / 1min walk’.

    Choose 2 focal points A and B.

    On Round 1 keep you attention on focal point A. On Round 2 keep your attention on focal point B. On Round 3 keep your attention on blended focal points AB, as best you can.

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