When was the last time that you had that one workout when everything clicked and you wish race day was tomorrow? Don't you love it when that happens!
But then comes race week - Ahhh!!!
Where did that race-ready, everything clicked, workout go? All of a sudden, it's race week and now you have a mix of emotions - many of which make you feel so unprepared.
It’s human nature to doubt yourself to feel like you should have done more. In our always-connected world, it’s very hard to keep things in perspective, especially when it appears as if everyone else is so much more ready than you are.
Regardless of how your training did or didn’t go, it’s important that you adjust your mindset so that you go into your race confident and believing in yourself.
Before every race, you need to believe yourself when you say “I am ready.”
For many now successful athletes, they started something before they felt ready. If something is important to you, you will never really feel ready. A side effect of doing something challenging is feeling excited and also very worried and unprepared.
As it relates to race day, you need to feel like you prepared "enough." To perform at your best, regardless of how ready you really are to compete, your mental game is extremely important so that you can feel ready "enough."
Here are some ways to boost your mental preparation before your next race.
1. You control your own 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 or fear, let go of all those negative thoughts. Instead, 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 – A niggle, low energy, heavy legs or nerves is a feeling. Just because you feel nervous, you feel a bit off or you feel a bit of a niggle in your shoulder, this doesn't meant that you will have a bad race. If you find yourself doubting your abilities because of how you feel, you are putting blame or excuses on a scenario that is inside your head. Never let your thoughts be confused with actions. You can still feel tired and perform amazingly well.
3. You are ready – When something is important to you, you will find the time and you will put in the work to get what you want. 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. Reflect on your previous training, which helped you stretch your comfort zone and gain the necessary skills to feel prepared at this point in your journey. Even though race day may be tough, struggling does not mean that you are not prepared. Trust that you have done the work and remember that every great success requires some kind of struggle in the journey.
4. Try your best - Your greatest fear should not be fear of failure. Not trying is failing. Great things will come to those who work hard and give it a go - no matter what. Always race with your current level of fitness and remember that you are a developing athlete, getting to where you want to be, one day at a time. Remember, a person who makes no mistakes is the person who is not 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 his/her own battle or has to overcome some type of obstacle before a race. What incredible battles have you overcome lately or this season? What are you thankful for?
The next time you find yourself with self-defeating thoughts, stop and get those thoughts out of your head. To enhance your performance, start with your mental game. Talk to yourself in a way that will boost your confidence. Quiet those negative thoughts in your head so that you can make room for the positive thoughts - You are strong, You can succeed. You are brave. You are dedicated. You are resilient. You are ready. You can do it!