A few weeks after completing an 8 week Resilient Mindfulness course, Matthew emailed me to say he'd just run a half marathon, and achieved a personal best (1 hour 21, exactly a minute off his previous PB).
What's remarkable about that?
He'd done no focussed training! He found that "amazing, and hard to explain."
So what was different?
Matthew had meditated more than usual in the lead up to the race. In fact he'd meditated for longer than he had run!
How did that extra mindfulness help?
Matthew wrote that "I think the reason for me running faster was principally because of the idea of staying with the present moment - whether pleasant or unpleasant. Often as a race goes on - running or cycling - I start to do sums in my head. I'm going at this pace, I've got this many miles left, it will take this long to finish. Sometimes the conclusion is then to back off and slow down because I anticipate I will blow up if I don't. This time I just stayed with the present moment and let those thoughts come and go. It turns out the blowing up never arrived."
So here's the lesson: anticipating the future can interfere with our performance (of whatever sort). Of course we should take reasonable precautions to make sure we don't burn ourselves out - but having done so, letting go of worry and immersing ourselves in the moment can really help us be at our best.