As endurance athletes we tend to understand that reaching our ultimate potential takes time. We have all given up invitations to go out, woken up extremely early to get our sessions done before kids sport or an early morning shift at work and have been meticulous in our preparation to ensure that on race day everything comes together. However, all to often we under perform, we psych ourselves out, worrying about the smallest details and ultimately stopping us from reaching our racing potential. So how do you ensure that all that work doesn’t go to waste on race day?
Train your brain
As endurance athletes we are constantly in repetitive motion. In the pool on the bike and on the run we are repeating the same motions day in day out over and over again. Use this time to train your brain and become mentally stronger. Grow your emotional intelligence in training when it hurts thinking about how it will help you on race day. If you hate running in the wind each time you run think “what if the biggest race of my life is this windy?” if your practice this in our training and build a stronger mentality it will help you pish through those times on race day.
Visualize your race
You spend hours thinking about your race. Use this to rehearse how you eant it to play out. Think about how you want each leg to play out and visualise yourself being strong and fast, visualize how you will hold your form and technique and also how you may deal with challenges if they come your way. Visualisation is a great tool to help you execute your perfect race.
Every race has an element of surprise that will be out of your control. Be prepared to be adaptable, view a late start time as a way to check all your gear, do a longer warm up, or listen to your pre race music to keep your calm.
Focus on the now
Once the race has started don’t dwell on what is ahead. Let the race play out and stay in what is happening in that moment. Stay focused on the kilometre you are in. Have a mantra to pick you up if you are struggling and don’t stress about the next part of the race. It’s all wasted energy. You can practice this in training, instead of focusing on how many reps are left, focus on the rep your currently executing think about your form and your mindset, the rest of the session doesn’t matter in that moment.
Trust the work you’ve done
You’ve spent months preparing for race day. You’ve done the work and ticked all the boxes. You should have no reason to doubt your ability on race day. You’ve trained the distances and probably done sessions harder then the race itself. Block out what other people are saying and cultivate self trust focusing on your strengths and training.
Remember, you have the power to choose your thoughts on race day. Choosing your mindset can make or break your race experience and result. If negative thoughts start to creep in it is critical to flick the switch. It is natural to feel nervous – learn how to harness these emotions to help you have a good race. Try to flood your mind with positive thoughts, remember why you are out there and most importantly remember nothing comes for free.