So why do you often feel so disappointed with your race day performance(s)?
It's likely that you won't feel "fresh" legs all day long.
Understanding that there will be obstacles and really dark/low moments on race day, it's important to approach race day with a positive can-do attitude that race day is all about performing with your body.
When was the last time you said to yourself "Body, let's see what we can do today!" with no expectations or assumptions?
With a good mindset, and accepting the reality that racing will not be easy, it's important to deliver yourself to the finish line knowing that you gave your absolute best. What more can you ask for by your body?
- Race day is not a test of your athletic merit/worthiness but instead, an opportunity to
celebrate your hard work. Race day is the reward of all your training! Whether you
were able to dedicate 100% to your training throughout the entire season or you
experienced a setback, injury, sickness, life event or other obstacle that detoured
you from consistent training, race day gives you an opportunity to race. Regardless of your current fitness status, race to your full capabilities at this point in your life. Knowing that there will always be another
race, do not let one race define you as an athlete.
- Remove any unwanted pressure that may prevent you from rising to your
potential on race day. Remove pressure that you need to prove something to your spouse/family and certainly don’t feel that you need to validate that your coaching was worth it by putting together the perfect race. Race for you!
- Don't change the formula. Losing weight, training more/harder or suddenly changing coaches is not how you get better overnight. Remind yourself that you are constantly evolving
as an athlete, which means your development occurs over time. Many times, patience is the only key that unlocks great future race day performances.
- Don't stress what is out of your control. Trust yourself and do
what has worked in training and in past races. Every race, you bring experience. You can control your pacing, how you react to situations, your nutrition and your attitude.
- Enjoy race day! Sure, race day is tough but you have to love what you are
doing. Find joy in exploring your boundaries, being very uncomfortable and stretching your limits.
- Do not attach your race day goals to a time or place. Racing requires you to take care of yourself from start to finish. You can't predict the future. Accept the challenge
and be proud of what you accomplish at the finish - regardless of the results. Focus on the process and the outcome will take care of itself.
- Never overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. Race day will teach you that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought was possible by your mind and body.
- Invest yourself into your race day performance and then move on. So you had a bad race, oh well. Time to move on. So you had a great race - yippee! Savor the moment! Always make sure to learn from your mistakes and bottle up those amazing race performances to build motivation and confidence for your upcoming training. Workouts do not define you as a person and neither does race day. Remember - this is your hobby, it should be fun and memorable.