USA Triathlon News Blogs Multisport Lab Meditation = Brain T...

Meditation = Brain Training for Focus

By Erin Taylor | March 13, 2018, 4:28 p.m. (ET)


“Work In: The Athlete’s Plan for Real Recovery and Winning Results” shares new mental and physical recovery techniques for athletes who give it all in every workout.

Why Meditate?

You know your mind is powerful. Since the beginning of time people have sought ways to focus the mind and harness its power. And while historical contexts of mental focus might conjure images of monks chanting on mountainsides, today people are meditating on everything from their worries to their goals in order to gain clarity and get results, and athletes are using meditation to get an edge. Recent research has made the benefits of regular meditation undeniable, and people are bending traditional techniques to fit their modern lifestyles.

MEDITATE = To focus your mind on something

Now focus — meditate — on this: Applying the same mental focus to your recovery that you do to your workouts will not only improve the results of your recovery but also yield better results from your workouts.

If you’re serious about your goals you should care about meditation because it will help you work in.

It’s a restorative shifting of your perspective that signals to your internal systems that the props that help you meet and overcome challenges can let go so that you can transition back into a more relaxed state where effort can be fully absorbed. Meditation helps you to deliberately rest after a sweat session, allowing you to make the most of your recovery time.

[Get started with the Awareness Breath meditation.]

In sport and life, meditation helps you:

work inFOCUS. Meditation sharpens mental focus and concentration. We spend a lot of time rehashing the past and projecting into the future. When you meditate, you bring your attention into the present moment — which is where optimal experiences exist and where recovery is optimized.

MANAGE PHYSICAL PAIN. Meditation calms your nervous system and eases residual tension, which is incredibly helpful for managing physical pain.

INCREASE EMOTIONAL STABILITY. Meditation’s calming effects help manage anxiety and depression. It helps you to stay connected to your goals and to keep perspective even when confronted with life’s inevitable challenges and adversity.

TRANSCEND UNPRODUCTIVE HABITS. Everyone has deeply ingrained habits — the behaviors you default to subconsciously that sometimes act as coping mechanisms — based on your usual mode of operation. Meditation helps you become aware of these habits, especially the ones that are not serving you, so you can begin to determine more productive possibilities.

STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. By calming your nervous system and shifting you into a more relaxed state, meditation gives your immune system a well-deserved break before you get run down.

IMPROVE SLEEP. Meditating is an ideal transition to a restful night’s sleep because it creates space between your work and your rest.

Along with mental focus training, “Work In” offers you physical relaxation tools to recharge your body. Learn more about restorative yoga and try a couple of poses.

In her groundbreaking new book, “Work In,” coach Erin Taylor gives you practical mental focus and physical relaxation tools to optimize your recovery anytime, anywhere. Republished with permission from “Work In” by Erin Taylor. Learn more at

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.