4/25/17

Boost your pre-race mental game

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When was the last time you had a workout when everything clicked and you felt unstoppable?
Although we all looooove that feeling and hope for it on race day, it's natural
 to doubt yourself and to feel unprepared before an important event. Certainly, in our always-connected world, it’s also very hard to keep things in perspective as it may seem like everyone is doing more than you and you are not doing enough. 

Regardless of how your training did or didn’t go, I encourage you to adjust your mindset so that you can confidently say, "I am ready!"

Here are some ways to boost your mental game before an important race: 

1. You control your thoughts – Feelings come from thoughts. All conflicting and negative thoughts start internally, in the mind. The next time your mind starts racing and you notice self-doubt, anxiety, fear or stress, try to let go of the negative feelings and uncertainties. Choose positive, quality thoughts that will help you excel on race day. And never let another athlete or person get inside your head. 

2. Feelings are not actions – Every time you let yourself think that some type of feeling, whether it is a niggle, low energy, heavy legs or nerves, will turn into an action, like not being able to perform on race day, you’ll find yourself doubting yourself before you even have an opportunity to prove yourself otherwise. Putting blame or excuses on scenarios before race day is easy but the truth is that the only day that matters is race day. Never let your thoughts be confused with actions. You can still have niggles, a previous setback or heavy legs and perform amazingly well on race day.

3. You got yourself ready – When something is important to you, you will find the time and you will put in the work. It takes a lot of hard work to be prepared for an event but the truth is that nobody ever feels 100% ready for something that is meaningful. Since you can't go back in time, you need to reflect on all of your previous training to remind yourself that you have the necessary skills to execute on race day. Even though race day may be tough, struggling does not mean that you are having a bad race. Trust that you have done the work and remember that every great success requires some kind of struggle to get to the finish line. 

4. Try your best - Your greatest fear should not be fear of failure. Not trying is failing. Great things come to those who work hard and never give up. Always race with your current level of fitness and remember that you are a developing athlete, getting to where you want to be, one race at a time. An athlete who makes mistakes is the person who willing to fail in order to win. It’s better to have a season of small mistakes to learn from, than a season of playing it safe, with regrets of never really trying.

5. Be thankful – Don’t worry about anyone else. Everyone person fights a battle or has to overcome some type of obstacle before a race. What incredible battles have you overcome this season? 
The next time you notice self-defeating thoughts filing your mind, or you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts that you are not good enough, ready enough or prepared enough, take a pause so that you can put things into perspective. Always choose to focus on good things in life, that make you feel great, and surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.