Running has had an extremely positive impact on my golf game recently. I don’t even think it is running specifically to be honest. It is the fact that running has helped me with my focus and that has directly related to improvement in my golf game. I actually hate running. Not much about it is fun. It is boring, not very easy and takes a toll on your body if you do it too often.
I would much rather do 50 other workouts than run, but the fact that I dislike it so much has helped me work on my focus in a way I never thought about until recently. If you think about it the focus it takes to finish a run you really don’t want to do is very similar to the focus you need to hit good shots in pressure situations on the golf course. When I used to go for runs all I could think about was how much longer I had to keep going to hit my time or distance mark/goal. It was all negative thoughts basically. “I’m tired”, “This sucks”, “I can’t wait to be done”. It was zero percent enjoyable.
Recently, I have shifted my focus to easier more positive thoughts. I try to think about my breathing and keeping it consistent or my stride length as I am running. It takes my mind off of how much further I have to go, etc. This is the same focus I have been trying to implement in my golf game. I have been trying to focus on things like picking good targets, being aggressive on “scary” shots and rolling putts with a smooth stroke. These points of focus are taking the place of the old goals of, no double bogeys, no shots OB and Break 40. If I focus on the positive goals the performance based goals will follow.
As much as I really don’t enjoy running, it has really helped me train myself to focus on process based goals or things I can actually control instead of letting negative thoughts affect my performance. Plus, I feel better now that I am running consistently and have lost some weight. My golf game looks better when I employ this type of focus and I have running to thank for it. Doesn’t mean I like it anymore than I used to, but it deserves some credit.