Essential Sports Nutrition

10/13/17

IM Kona Race Week - Mistake #5

RACING UNDER PRESSURE

For many months, Ironman World Championship participants have been dreaming about race day. And now, with only one more sleep left to go, excitement suddenly turns into nerves and a calm mind suddenly goes into overdrive.

When you are racing against the best athletes in the world at the Ironman World Championship, it's easy to feel intimidated about everyone around you who is in the best shape ever and ready to perform at the top of their physical game.

But don't let this psych you out.

Athletic excellence on race day comes when your mind is as strong as your body. Don't let yourself get intimidated by the other athletes around you or by the challenging course. You earned your right to be at the start line and you know what you are getting yourself into. Trust yourself that you have the capability to reach the finish line. 

Here are my simple tips to help you perform under pressure while making the most of your Ironman World Championship experience:

  1. Swim - Whereas most sport psychologists would recommend staying extremely focused before the start by tuning out any outside distractions, the IM Kona swim start is something that should be enjoyed. Take it all in as this is a moment to remember. When you see the cameras, scuba divers, helicopter, spectators, volunteers and Mike Reiley, all there to watch you start your Ironman World Championship jouney, make sure to take a few minutes and really soak it all in.

  2. Bike - As most Ironman athletes know, you don't have to have a perfect race in order to have a great race. Make sure you have a plan for what you will do in every situation. Instead of worrying about what the winds will be like in Hawi or stressing about the possibility of a flat tire, equip yourself with the right mental tools of how you will handle anything that comes your way. Visualize different scenarios from all sections of the course so that come race day, you will feel prepared for whatever the Madame Pele gives you. And above all, never make assumptions or jump ahead in thoughts. Be proactive and processed driven. Remind yourself that you have trained the best that you could for the day and what's going to happen will happen - you can only control the controllables.


  3. Run - You are running on an island in the Ironman World Championship. Can life get any better?? When you are running on Ali'i drive with endless cheers giving you positive energy and when you are running on the Queen K and in and out of the energy lab, with the quiet roads of the island trying to such the energy out of you, make sure to enjoy the experience. The moment you stop caring is the moment that you give up on your dream. There's no reason why you can't run happy in an Ironman as this experience (even when you are suffering) as this experience is extremely special. You are not only blessed with the talent/luck/genetics/hard work ethic that helped you qualify but you also had the support of your family/work and the means to get to big island. Never lose your positive can-do attitude, no matter how much you are hurting or how dark of a place your mind goes into during the IM Kona marathon.


  4. Finish - The atmosphere near the finish line is unreal. With every foot strike forward to the magic red carpet, you will find the energy unlike anything that you have every experienced before in a triathlon event.

                                

    As you make your way on to Ali'i drive and run into the finish line chute, take it all in and don't let this special moment pass you by.


    Be sure to thank your body for what it has allowed you to do and no matter how your race went, be grateful for your experience to race on this iconic course with your healthy and strong body. 


And make sure to rock your finisher gear!!!
Be proud to wear your necklace and finisher medal - you earned it!