8/11/15

It's ok to make mistakes: reflect, learn and move on


You've probably heard the expression: Hope for the best and plan for the worst. 

Sometimes on race day, everything comes together perfectly and sometimes, well, it seems like a fight just to keep your body moving in a forward direction. 

No matter how prepared you feel going into a race, there is absolutely no way to know how your body will respond to the course, weather, nutrition or effort.
So instead of stressing about things out of your control, embrace the unknowns!
 This is all part of being an athlete and the unknowns make race day so exhilarating. That is, if you choose to accept the obstacles instead of complaining (or settling for a DNF) when things do not go how you planned.

Every athlete makes mistakes on race day. Struggles are not limited to age group athletes. All athletes, of all levels, experience battles with the mind and body in almost every race. 

Even if you think a race is going perfectly, it is really your ability to handle situations that makes for a "perfect" race. 

To help yourself out for race day, use every training session to better prepare for your races. Don't settle for easy courses, easy conditions or easy workouts. Challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
 R
ather than going into workouts focusing only on the metrics, focus on your execution and how your body responds to given efforts. Complaining over a bad training session doesn't prepare you better for your race. It only causes you to question your abilities. Don't take the easy way out and just call it a day every time when you feel like your workout isn't going as planned. 
Adjust and keep adjusting until you figure it out. 

Every time you embrace uncomfortable situations in training, you will better prepare yourself mentally and physically for race day. 

 It may seem silly but enjoy the moments when things don't go as planned so you recognize that you are being given a great opportunity to learn and better prepare for your upcoming race. And on race day, remember that every race should provide you with an opportunity to reflect, learn and move on so that you can feel more prepared to handle situations at your next race. 

Every athlete wants to be fast on race day. Fast is relative to the course, distance racing, weather and your closest competition but it is typically defined as a personal improvement from a previous race.

But amazingly, racing is far more than the fitness that you bring to the race. You can be extremely fit to race but it takes great strength to be prepared to handle the obstacles that arise on race day. A weak mind or too strong of an ego can destroy great performances. 

In order to make improvements in your fitness AND to execute on race day, you must be able to reflect properly on your training sessions AND races and to learn throughout your individual training journey. Sure, you can tell yourself over and over that you need to train harder, train more, eat better and stay more mentally tough on race day but it isn't until you begin to accept the mistakes as great opportunities for personal growth that you will really see an improvement in your fitness and performance.