Julia Chi Taylor

Julia Chi Taylor

Many years ago I was doing some work with Ros Draper, to develop me professionally and for me to understand my own therapy model… She was drawing my own ‘map’ out of me

I had said to her that my deeper work with people ‘just happened’… I was a personal trainer at the time, but it was evident that more was ‘going on’ when I was working with my clients… I didn’t need to think about it either, it just happened…

I said to Ros that although I wanted to develop, I didn’t want to lose my spontaneity…

Ros was working with me to find out what it was I did naturally, and during this process, there were two things in particular that shaped both my professional and running future…

Firstly she said to me that if I knew what I was doing, and saw it more clearly, then it would be possible to be even more spontaneous and trust the process completely…

And secondly she asked me to write down the experience of a peak running performance…

One of the things I wrote was this:

On top of the pain, on top of the pace, in the flow…

Of course, in time I recognized that these two things were synonymous…

That the flow, or the zone in both areas of my life; my work and my sport came about through a deep knowing of what to do, and a relaxation to allow the performance, the practice to emerge in the moment.

In effect being in the zone is being fully present to the task in hand, without worrying about the outcome or doubting your ability, trusting your skill and training and allowing out what is within…

My mental and emotional and physical muscles were so well trained and so deeply ingrained with a knowing of what I knew anyway; that when I showed up at the running race or the therapy intervention, all I really need do was clear my mind, stop getting in the way of the flow and allow my unconscious to meet my conscious mind in carrying out the task…

This happened with ease and regularity in my work with people, in my sport it was more difficult to attain…

The zone refers to ‘Zone of optimal functioning…’ when the athlete performs to the absolute best they could possibly do.

So many factors come into play to allow this to occur, including nutrition, quality of sleep, overall health, emotional well being, that it doesn’t generally happen very often…

In my own running career, I can think of a few times where this was the absolute case… I had many good races, and ran to form… But the zone felt different.

Like magic, timeless, flowing, no effort, easy….

One of these was when I was nineteen years old… I won the southern counties cross country championships by miles and miles, running away from a really strong field…

Before the race ‘I knew’ I would win… I had no doubts, I was fit and strong and at ease…

I was relaxed and ready to run… So relaxed – more than usual – that when suddenly I couldn’t find my spikes, the shock for a few seconds, aroused my body to a state of readiness – it was a good thing. The gun went and the race seemed easy, flowing and I ran like the wind… It felt effortless…

There are ways to achieve the zone, which is in absolute terms, the state half way between sleep state and extreme arousal…

It is important that the mind is calm and still and the body is ready to run…

We are all different, but essentially knowing that we are fit and ready, and that we are able to achieve what is in front of us, is a good first step…

Learning how to relax with meditation and breathing exercises can train the athlete to be relaxed when there is a lot at stake and a big race ahead…

Visualisation of previous peak performances can help stimulate the body, as can music that is personal to the athlete and arouses them to run…

Affirmations and mantras can help keep the mind free and at ease.

But the essence is confidence, relaxation and letting go of getting in the way of allowing what is within the body to come out…

Being able to be fully in the present in the here and now without attachment to an outcome…

About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor

About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor

Contributor

Julia is an ex international distance runner.
In the late 70’s all through the 80’s and into the early 90’s she competed regularly for England and GB at distances from 5k to Marathon. Some of her best performances include winning the 1985 Dublin Marathon and finishing 7th woman (3rd British woman) in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31 where she was selected to run in the Commonwealth Games.

She still competes now as a master over 55, regularly winning her age group in races around the world. She’s was also part of the winning team for the national master X country championships in March this year, 2016. Julia has coached and mentored others to achieve their dreams in sport and life for the past forty years!

Read about her barefoot adventures: www.SolesJourney.com
Watch Julia chart her barefoot journey all over the world: www.SolesJourneyTV.com

Julia’s Books:
Girlfriend For A Year
Running To Learn
Running Sussed

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