Today I thought I would share a helpful list on mental strategies around racing. These tips are some great ways to not only be well prepared for the race, but for after the race as well. Enjoy!
- Build confidence by drawing from past successes and visually rehearsing the upcoming event in its entirety. Tools for this task: visulization and affirmation.
- Study the course in person or using a map. Imagine how it will go to create familiarity.
- Rehearse your pre race routine. Imagine yourself one hour before the race. Capture looks, smells, go through the positive way you feel physically and emotionally.
- Simulation training: imagine facing unexpected challenges like weather changes or not feeling as good as you had hoped. Imagine how you would recover successfully from them.
- Ritualize: any ritual you have in the day or two leading up to the race is something relaxing, allowing a measure of control and reduction in anxiety. Certain dinner, watching a movie, race day checklist. The key over time is consistency.
- Set multiple goals. Two or three realistic but challenging goals, and include a range, like 2:58 to 3:15 for a marathon.
- Show up to run, have fun, and set your body free to do all it was trained to do
- Take a moment to reflect and meditate on how fit and ready you are and how fortunate you feel to be in good health and able to participate in the race
- Experience the joy, sense of your pride on achieving the benefits of your training program. That is a victory worth celebrating
- Worry less about outcome and more about doing the best you can. Try thinking soft is strong to run fluidly rather than force or push. Meditative states go a long way for performance
- Dealing with distractions: view it as a friend who visits occasionally. Give it credence by talking to it, and view it as an opportunity to practice concentration while on the run.
- Keeping your focus. This can be lost when the outcome doesn't look good. Focus on what can be done now. Divide the task into small manageable segments- maybe hang on to a runner doing a little bit better than you for a set distance, focusing on how you feel.
- Detaching yourself from the outcome. It doesn't measure your self-worth. Goals are beacons that keep you going forward in the process.
- Focus instead on running a well-executed plan, how you love running, how fortunate you are to have the health and strength for this.
- Don't forget to prepare for how you feel after the race
- Managing post event tensions, anxieties, frustrations, and disappointments are vital for performance in future competitive efforts
- Take time out to examine the meaning of a win or less. Put into proper perspective, you can gain a lot of information from such analysis.
- Cautiously interpret the outcome as a success or failure- a loss is not necessarily an unsuccessful effort. Maybe wait a day to objectively criticize and assess the outcome.
- Take some alone time to rehash your thoughts, ask yourself what you learned, what adjustments I can make in training and in the race. Maybe talk out the feelings with someone else who understands this
And last, but not least some affirmations. Feel free to use these or create your own version that speaks to you more.
- Calm and confident, I race well.
- Expect success, I'm running my best.
- Every race is a new opportunity to improve my skills.
- I possess all that I need to race like a well-trained athlete.
The above information is borrowed from Running Within by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott. For more on this, I highly recommend buying the book!