3 things you can do to take care of those race day nerves and prepare your mind and body for success
We all get those race day jitters and butterflies. But how do we get those butterfly’s to fly in formation for success? As a professional track and field athlete I have to deal with a lot of nerves and stresses when it comes to my big competitions so I have come up with three ways that I help to ease the nerves and prepare me for success.
Eliminate the “What Ifs”
Questioning yourself and your training on race day is never a good thing to do. A lot of runners will say “what if I don’t do well today” or “what if my body isn’t ready”. All this is doing is putting doubtful thoughts in your mind. Instead of saying what if try saying “I want to do well today” or “I believe my body is ready to race today”. Changing negative thoughts can be tricky at times but saying those positive affirmations to yourself can make a world of difference. Before a big race I tell myself exactly what I want my body to do “I want to get out of the blocks strong”, “I want to attack the first hurdle”. Using these positive affirmations ensures my body and mind knows what it needs to do when it comes time to race.
Yes, yes we have all heard to visualize success and the outcome you want but do more than that! Visualize how you are going to feel, what your feet will feel like on the ground, and the surge of energy you are going to feel when you see the finish line. Visualizing the small details of your race gives your mind and body a clearer picture of what you want to do and accomplish. Before each race I visualize attacking each hurdle and what it will feel like to come off the hurdle strong. I also visualize pushing through the fatigue and lactic acid at the end of my race. Picturing myself finishing strong and working though the fatigue trains my mind and body to do it in the race.
Reviewing your Training log and Goals
If you have wrote a training log or your goals down make sure you read those over the night before or the day of your race. This reminds yourself of all those hard training sessions and workouts you did in preparation for the race. It reminds you that you are ready, you have put in the work and now it’s time to show them what you’ve got! Whenever I travel to a big competition I bring my goals with me that I wrote down at the beginning of the year so I can reread them and remind myself of what I want to accomplish.
Remember you are racing because YOU want to race, it’s something you enjoy doing and that’s why you will line up at the starting line. As my coach always tells me “Enjoy the moment”.