Most athletes wake up on the morning of the race and listen to music, warm up, then toe the starting line. You can’t mentally prepare for a race in one night, it takes a little time. For instance, over the past couple years I have learned that strategizing one to two weeks before the race is the best time frame. This is what I mean when I say strategize:
1. Think of every scenario that could happen during a race, then a solution to the problem - Start each scenario with the question, “What would I do if.” For example, “What would I do if I get a cramp on mile 19 of this marathon,” or “What would I do if someone accidentally kicked my goggles off during a triathlon?” It is important to know how you will handle each situation in case it arises, becuase you never want to panic during a race then rush into a solution that leads you to be disqualified or even get the dreaded “DNF” tag.
2. Before you go to sleep, visualize yourself dominating the race – It is important to see yourself conquering the race before you even start, because it gets the positve vibes and the excitement flowing. I believe the more excited you are and the more positive thoughts the cross your mind, you will not only have a healthy mind, but will compete better on race day.
3. On race day, do not think of the entire race as a whole - Don’t say to yourself, “Just 26 more miles to go!” or “Halfway through the bike ride!” Take everything mile by mile, minute by minute, and second by second. Chabon Childers, my high school baseball coach, always preached to the team, “Chip away! Get a couple runs here, a run there, and we are back in this thing!” I think the same concept applies to endurace sports. You are “chipping away” the miles.
On race day morning, do your normal routine, such as waking up, listening to some tunes, etc. If you mentally prepare, or strategize for every race you will be much better off in the long run because you are confident, excited, and relentless.
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
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