Triggers serve as great reminders for your subconscious to think about your affirmations. Use a common site at the race to trigger the memory of your positive suggestions. Walking around a turn, seeing a telephone pole, or passing a split are all possible triggers. What you choose to serve as your trigger is not important, as long as the object regularly repeats along the course.
Do not use a judge as a trigger. If you modify your technique directly in front of a judge, you may look awkward and draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
Instead of just saying “Drive your hips forward,” mentally program the affirmation into your head: “As I see the telephone pole, I remember to drive my hips forward, helping me race walk faster and more legally.” On race day, when you pass your trigger, your affirmation rises to consciousness. So you have that going for you, which is nice.
The key to this method’s success is remaining deeply relaxed throughout the exercise. If you make a tape to listen to, be sure to speak in a monotone voice throughout the session to encourage such a state. Make sure you imagine everything the way you want it to happen, all the way through to the finish line.
Back when I was in college, a professor of my Metaphorical Thinking class used to enjoy making me the guinea pig. He chose me, because he thought the world-class athlete was the closest thing the Western World had to the Eastern World’s mental gurus. At the time, I didn’t understand why. However, after traveling to the Far East multiple times, studying a bit of Buddhism, and practicing meditation, I now understand his point.
When a race walker achieves complete focus on technique, his or her mind blanks. Everything goes on autopilot. To achieve this, you must train your mind. Similarly, monks spend countless hours training to clear their minds of everything. With practice, monk-like mind control is within your grasp.