Man­age Your Mind On Race Morn­ing

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - WITH MELANIE MCQUAID

Many ath­letes bat­tle anx­i­ety at race venues when the noise, en­ergy and dis­trac­tions sur­round them in tran­si­tion. Man­ag­ing your thoughts be­gins when you en­sure you are or­ga­nized and pre­pared for the race – this will min­i­mize race morn­ing stress and max­i­mize your abil­ity to re­main calm and fo­cused. Here’s how to pre­pare your­self for your best race: A list out­lin­ing what I am go­ing to eat/drink, and when, is how I start to for­mu­late my race plan. Then I look to land­marks and mile mark­ers to de­cide how I am go­ing to ap­proach rid­ing and run­ning a course as fast as I can. Other com­peti­tors are use­ful to feed off to make sure you keep your en­ergy high through­out the day, but it is best to keep within the con­fines of your race plan, con­fi­dent that it will get the most out of your fit­ness. If you find your re­sult dis­ap­point­ing, but you stuck to your strat­egy, you can then read­just your plan for the next race based on what you have learned. In long­course rac­ing it is im­por­tant to fo­cus on your own best race strat­egy. In shorter races you need to re­act to what your com­peti­tors are do­ing and what is go­ing on around you.

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The night be­fore the race, write a list of all the things you need to do on race morn­ing right up to and in­clud­ing the start. Or­ga­nize this list in chrono­log­i­cal or­der with spe­cific times for each ac­tiv­ity to keep you on time and help you get to the race with all of your equip­ment, bot­tles and cloth­ing. In­clude de­tails on this list as to when you wake up, eat breakfast, use the potty, pack the car, drive to the venue, set up tran­si­tion, put on your wet­suit, kiss your sig­nif­i­cant other and start your warm-up. If there is ex­tra time in your sched­ule you will have time to chat with your com­peti­tors be­fore the race – if you are run­ning be­hind you know to stay fo­cused on your pre-race tasks. The more de­tail and specifics you put on your list, the less likely you are to for­get any­thing and you’ll also stay calm and fo­cused on what you want to do in the race.

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With the ner ves and ex­cite­ment buzzing at the race venue, it can be dif­fi­cult to stay calm be­fore the start of the race. Overex­cite­ment and over-stim­u­la­tion can be stress­ful and make you un­nec­es­sar­ily tight and anx­ious be­fore the start. Find a quiet spot (or cre­ate some quiet with ear­phones and open space) and clear your mind of all thoughts other than your in­ten­tions for the day. Keep your thoughts pos­i­tive and fo­cused on how you will ex­e­cute your plan. Be­ing calm and con­fi­dent is im­por­tant to make sure you don’t let your nerves dis­tract you from ex­press­ing your fit­ness. I like to have con­fi­dence that my body knows ex­actly what to do as long as I stay calm and let it hap­pen. Know that your body will do ex­actly what it has been trained to do as long as you don’t over­think and get in your own way.

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You can­not con­trol the out­come of the race. The only things within your con­trol are your own prepa­ra­tion and your own ex­e­cu­tion, so fo­cus on max­i­miz­ing th­ese de­liv­er­ables to achieve the out­come you want. Even if you have a race be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions, some­times the out­come doesn’t match how great the ef­fort was. Fo­cus on ex­e­cu­tion in or­der to con­sis­tently race well and, over time, have great re­sults.

It is also im­por­tant not to start eval­u­at­ing the race be­fore it is over. Main­tain your fo­cus and give it your best ef­fort from start to fin­ish with­out eval­u­at­ing, judg­ing or eas­ing up at any point mid-race.

BONUS

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